Sports

Mets' Sheffield comes off DL; Putz hopes to follow soon

Gary Sheffield was activated from the disabled list Sunday, giving the injury-riddled New York Mets another healthy option in the outfield.

The Mets also announced their starting pitcher for tonight’s series finale against Arizona. Right-hander Nelson Figueroa will be called up from Triple-A Buffalo to face ace Dan Haren.

The 35-year-old Figueroa, who made one start for New York earlier this season, was 7-5 at Buffalo with a 2.25 ERA, second-best in the International League.

Figueroa was 3-3 with a 4.57 ERA in 16 games with the Mets last year, including six starts. To make room for him on the roster, New York optioned left-hander Pat Misch to Buffalo after Sunday’s 5-2 loss.

The 40-year-old Sheffield had been sidelined since July 18 with a strained right hamstring. Signed just before opening day after getting cut by Detroit, he leads the Mets with 10 homers.

To make room for Sheffield on the roster, New York designated third-string catcher Robinson Cancel for assignment after Saturday night’s 9-6 victory.

In other news, setup man J.J. Putz threw 20 fastballs and five splitters in his second bullpen session since June 9 surgery to remove a bone spur from the back of his right elbow.

“It went pretty well,” Putz said. “No pain at all.”

Putz said he wants to return sometime this month, hopefully in about three weeks.

Orioles veteran sounds off

Disgruntled third baseman Melvin Mora lashed out at Orioles manager Dave Trembley on Sunday after being benched for the third time in four games.

“I don’t appreciate the disrespect, because I’ve been playing hurt for a guy who won’t respect you. I don’t deserve it,” he said.

Mora, 37, is a two-time All-Star who hit .285 with 23 homers and 104 RBI last season despite being bothered by a foot sprain. This year, however, Mora is batting .256 with only three homers and 27 RBI.

Trembley stuck with Mora until recently, when he began giving veteran Ty Wigginton more playing time at third base.

Trembley acknowledged Sunday the switch was made in part because Wigginton’s contract extends through next year and Mora will become a free agent after this season.

Short hops

Brewers outfielder Corey Hart was scheduled to undergo an appendectomy Sunday night. The Brewers said Hart will go on the 15-day disabled list and be replaced by Bill Hall, who will be recalled from Triple-A Nashville.… Marlins right-hander Burke Badenhop was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle near his neck Sunday, one day after he allowed five earned runs in 12/3 innings against the Cubs. … Blue Jays closer Scott Downs was placed on the disabled list Sunday after aggravating the injured left big toe that landed him on the DL earlier this season. The Blue Jays recalled right-hander Jeremy Accardo to take Downs’ roster spot. Right-hander Jason Frasor will handle most of the ninth-inning duties while Downs is out. … A Boston newspaper is reporting the Red Sox fired two security staffers last summer after an investigation into steroid use. Both staffers told the Boston Globe they used steroids, but denied any knowledge of drug use by players. … Sunday marked the 30th anniversary of Thurman Munson’s fatal plane crash in Canton, Ohio, and Reggie Jackson still remembers the “chilling feeling” that gripped him when he heard the news. The Yankees had a day off, and Jackson was in Connecticut when he learned about the crash. “I got a really eerie feeling because it said ‘Yankee great,’ ‘Yankee superstar,’ or something like that ‘dies in a plane crash,’” said Jackson, now a special adviser. Munson often flew home on days off to be with his family and was practicing takeoffs and landings in a Cessna citation jet when it clipped a tree and fell short of the runway.

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