Ayala Likely To Start Year On DL

Friday, March 16th 2007, 4:38 pm
By: News On 6

UNDATED (AP) _ Detroit Tigers designated hitter Gary Sheffield is expected to return to the team Saturday after missing several exhibition games.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland said he wasn't concerned that Sheffield's absence might hurt his play because he's had 34 at-bats this spring.

Sheffield's lawyer said Thursday that his client ``is involved in a legal proceeding for a baseball-related matter'' involving a previous agent.

In other training camp news today:

_ New York Yankees outfielder Bobby Abreu took batting practice in a cage against a pitcher Friday for the first time since straining his right oblique last month. Abreu said he felt great after taking 55 swings, including some at almost full intensity.

_ The Washington Nationals say reliever Luis Ayala probably will start the season on the disabled list. Ayala was the Nationals' top setup man in 2005 but missed all of last season following elbow surgery.

_ And the Cincinnati Reds have released pitchers Kerry Ligtenberg and Brian Meadows, who had signed minor league deals before spring training.