Sheffield wants to stay with Mets

PHOENIX -- Gary Sheffield wants to stay in New York despite the Mets' struggles.

"My preference is to stay here," Sheffield said Monday night before the Mets played the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was out of the lineup because of a balky hamstring. "I don't want to talk about a trade."

The Mets signed Sheffield as a free agent April 4 after he was released by Detroit, which is playing all but $400,000 of his $14 million salary.

A free agent after the season, the 40-year-old Sheffield is hitting .286 with 10 homers and 38 RBIs in 79 games, although he has played in only four games since injuring his right hamstring July 17 in Atlanta.

"I don't know how I feel about that now," Sheffield said about possibly being traded. "I might change when it happens. It might be a team that I would be happy about it. Another team, I might not be happy about it."

Sheffield did not start Monday, a day after manager Jerry Manuel said he likely would start against Arizona left-hander Doug Davis. Sheffield has not played since last Wednesday.

"There's where it gets a little frustrating," Sheffield said. "I'm ready to go. Am I going to walk off the field? I don't know.

"If there ever was a time I thought I couldn't play, that would be a time I would walk away," he said. "But I still can hit 30 home runs. I can still hit in the middle of the order for a contending ball club."