Cafardo on Sheffield, Lackey, Lowell and more

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sheffield.jpgNick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is back with his latest batch of Hot Stove goodies. Here’s a quick run-down of some of the more interesting tidbits:



– Gary Sheffield isn’t done. The 41-year-old slugger wants to return for his 23rd season and he has 3,000 hits on his mind.



“After talking to my wife and kids,” said Sheffield, “they want me to
get 3,000 hits [he’s at 2,689]. I want to keep playing, and I know I
can go out and hit at least 25 and maybe up to 40 home runs for some
team if I get the chance.”




So, Sheffield is currently 311 hits
away from 3,000. If we combine his last three seasons, including a very
productive 2009, Sheffield only has 299. Let’s just say the odds are
stacked heavily against him.




Representing himself, Sheffield
hasn’t heard from any teams just yet, however he said he would be open
to being a designated hitter while playing the field a couple of times
a week. Anybody who watched the Mets last season can’t help but
snicker.




– Cafardo speculates that if the Red
Sox sign John Lackey they could use Clay Buchholz as a chip in a
potential deal for Adrian Gonzalez or Miguel Cabrera. Under this
scenario, the Red Sox would sign an additional starter like Ben Sheets
as insurance for the rotation. Cafardo quotes an American League
general manager who says Casey Kotchman or Jed Lowrie could be valuable
to other teams in a possible trade this offseason.




– The Red Sox are one of at least a
dozen teams to inquire about reliever Mike Gonzalez. Gonzalez, 31, has
had arm and elbow issues in the past, however Boston hasn’t examined
his medical records as of yet.




– Mike Lowell could be asked to play
some first base if his hip doesn’t improve enough to play third base
regularly. According to Cafardo, the idea has been discussed internally.




– J.D. Drew underwent surgery on his
left shoulder last week to repair inflammation he suffered with during
the second half of the season. According to Cafardo, he should be ready
for the start of spring training.

Braves sign former football player Sanders Commings

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 15:  Cornerback Sanders Commings #26 of the Kansas City Chiefs on the sidelines during the pre-season NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 15, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.

Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.

Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.

Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.

The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.

Justin Verlander: “I’d like to see the AL and NL have the same rules… I vote NL rules.”

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 10:  Starting pitcher Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the first inning at Safeco Field on August 10, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”

Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:

To that, Archer said:

For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.