Sheffield missed Atlanta's
6-4 victory Saturday because of a sore hand.
Sheffield was hit on the left hand by Mark Prior's pitch in the
sixth inning Friday night. He stayed in the game, but his hand was
swollen after the game, and he could barely move it.
It wasn't much better Saturday, and Braves manager Bobby Cox
left him out of the lineup.
Sunday night, Sheffield singled in the first inning against Kerry Wood.
"It hurts a little," he said before Game 5. "I was more concerned about the bone, that it might be broken. I let a couple of swings go in batting practice, and it felt fine."
Cox was sure Sheffield was ready to play.
"He was pretty convincing when he walked into to my office, and he's hitting balls about 500 feet right now," Cox said.
"I have been getting it treated all day," Sheffield said.
"Every inning, every second of every minute. Each run we scored,
the treatment got more intense."
Sheffield batted .330 this year with 39 homers and an
Atlanta-record 132 RBI. But for the second straight season, he's
struggling in the playoffs.
He was just 1-for-10 in the first three games. The rest of the
Braves weren't much better, hitting only .191.
But the Braves broke out of their slump in a big way Saturday,
tagging Cubs pitchers for 12 hits. Chipper Jones, moved up to his
old No. 3 spot, hit a two-run homer from each side of the plate and
Darren Bragg, who started for Sheffield in right field, was
0-for-5 but had an RBI.
"I was so proud of Chipper and the rest of the gang for pulling
it out, because this is a must-win situation," Sheffield said.
"Going up against a pitching staff like this and a successful
baseball team, you never know. And we pulled it out."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.