Notes: Sheff makes up for lost time
Campusano leaves game with injury; Robertson breaks out
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Gary Sheffield was thinking ahead when he was racking up all those at-bats early on in camp. Now that he's making up for lost time after missing four days for a court case, he doesn't expect the layoff will affect him.
Sheffield went 0-for-3 at the plate in Sunday's split-squad game against the Devil Rays at Joker Marchant Stadium, and manager Jim Leyland has said Sheffield isn't himself with his swing yet. Both Leyland and Sheffield have no doubt he'll get there.
"I felt like I was ahead of schedule," Sheffield said Sunday morning. "By missing this time, I don't think it's going to be significant to me. When I came back [Saturday], my first at-bat, I was probably off a little bit. But once I got more at-bats, the more comfortable I got.
"Now it's just staying healthy at this point. I feel good. Once the baseball fields start looking small again, then you're ready for baseball."
He wanted to be ahead of schedule going into the week, since he knew he was going to have to take a day off. He didn't anticipate it would take the entirety of four days. In hindsight, though, he's even happier that he worked ahead.
"I'm just thankful I got the at-bats that I did," he said. "I'm thankful I put in the work that I did, because I came in more ready than I've been before. I came in [to camp] in shape. I was focused, and [I'm] still focused. It's just a situation where I missed four days and I feel back to normal."
Sheffield didn't want to talk in too much detail about the case, and he didn't want to mention former agent Scott Boras by name. The matter stems from several years ago, when Boras named himself as Sheffield's representative in negotiations. Two years after being traded from the Dodgers to the Braves, Sheffield signed as a free agent with the Yankees. The case boils down to money, and whether Sheffield owes Boras any.
Sheffield believes strongly enough in his case to follow through this far on it, though he was surprised he had to spend this much time on it while Spring Training was going on. He believes the case has been stretched out and positioned now as an effort to put pressure on him.
"You would think some people have enough money," he said.
He also believes it's a case many players will be watching.
"If I was wrong in any kind of way, I would own up to that," Sheffield said.
Campusano injured: Left-hander Edward Campusano left Sunday's split-squad game against the Braves at Disney World after experiencing what the Tigers called left elbow discomfort. He'll be re-examined on Monday in Lakeland.
Campusano had just struck out Braves Minor Leaguer Willie Cabrera on a breaking ball when he hunched over, his hands on his knees. Assistant athletic trainer Steve Carter attended to him, and he was immediately removed from the game.
Depending on the diagnosis, the Tigers' relief picture could become more complicated. Campusano was looking strong as a second left-handed relief option alongside Wilfredo Ledezma, a race that includes Bobby Seay, Felix Heredia and Tim Byrdak.
As a Rule 5 Draft pick, Campusano would have to make the Tigers' 25-man roster for the club to keep him. Detroit can put him on the disabled list if need be, even on Opening Day, but he must spend at least 90 days on the active roster. Otherwise, he'd have to go through the same requirements next year.
Nate stretches out: Unable to get out of the third inning in any of his previous three starts this spring, Nate Robertson broke through Sunday in a big way. Not only did he pitch five scoreless innings, but he needed just 50 pitches to do it. With a targeted pitch count around 60, he finished out with some extra throws in the bullpen.
"[I got] back to getting ahead early and challenging guys," Robertson said. "Not that I was getting away from that; I just think I was trying to be a little too fine in my last outing. That's what you want to do. Regardless of the results, that's the biggest thing, making sure you're throwing your three pitches, and you're throwing it in the zone. You work on pitching when you get ahead, and that's what you want to do."
Infante strong at short: With everyday shortstop Carlos Guillen on the trip to Disney, Leyland gave Omar Infante the start at short in the home split-squad game. Infante turned in a strong performance defensively with five assists, including a pair of strong throws.
The standout of the bunch was a standstill throw from deep in the hole to rob Brendan Harris of a single. The ball came in low, but Chris Shelton was able to dig it out at first. It was one throw, but an encouraging one for Infante, who has been followed by questions about his arm strength for the last couple of years following shoulder problems.
"That surprised me a little bit," Leyland said. "I was very pleased with that. He's a good player."
Coming up: The Tigers will welcome the Reds on Monday for a 1:05 p.m. ET game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Kenny Rogers will take the mound for Detroit opposite Bronson Arroyo.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.