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Mets agree to terms with Sheffield

The Mets have agreed to terms with Gary Sheffield, a person familiar with the situation confirmed Friday.

The team is expected to make an official announcement shortly.

"It's going to be great having him in the lineup," centerfielder Carlos Beltran said. "He's been in baseball for many years and he has a lot of experience. He has a lot to prove to people and the league. His presence in the lineup is going to make a big difference on how teams look at us."

Sheffield worked out Thursday at a college field in Tampa, as first reported by SI.com, and the Mets were his first choice, with the Phillies and Reds also showing interest.

Sheffield, 41, is sitting on 499 home runs, which means Citi Field could host a significant historical milestone within the first week of the stadium's existence. He also wants to reach 3,000 hits, but is much further away from that mark at 2,615. Sheffield also has indicated that he wants to play beyond this season.

"We're here to win a World Series," leftfielder Daniel Murphy said. "If the organization and Omar (Minaya) thinks he's going to help that's great. He needs one more bomb to get to 500. I'd like to talk to him a little bit."

There is an instant Mets connection as well. Sheffield is the nephew of Dwight Gooden, who is expected to be in attendance for the Citi Field opener on April 13.

On the surface, Sheffield appears to be a good fit for the Mets as a right-handed slugger capable of providing power off the bench. With the signing of Sheffield, Marlon Anderson is the most obvious roster casualty. Eating his $1.15-million salary is made more palatable by the fact that Sheffield is only due the major-league minimum of $400,000. The Tigers released him earlier this week despite owing him $14 million for this season.

Finding Sheffield playing time is a little more complicated. The Mets could immediately platoon him with Ryan Church in rightfield, which seems more likely given their infatuation with Murphy in left. Of course, if Murphy struggles, that decision could be flipped.

"I can't control anything they do," Church said. "I've just got to be ready from day one. I'll come in ready to be in the lineup and if I'm not, I'll be ready to come off the bench."

New York Sports