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Sheffield touches on time in New York

Sheffield interview to stir pot

SEATTLE -- Gary Sheffield's tell-it-like-it-is style has drawn him into another controversy, this time involving his former team, the New York Yankees, Joe Torre, Derek Jeter and Barry Bonds.

In an interview with HBO's "Real Sports" that airs on Tuesday, the Tigers DH said he believed the Yankees and Torre treat black players differently, and that Bonds, his former workout partner, violated his trust.

Sheffield, addressing the media before Friday's game against the Mariners, said that his relationship with Torre "started off rocky, because I always have a problem with a manager talking on behalf of one player or another while I'm there. I was getting disrespected the first month and a half."

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He said that Torre and the Yankees bemoaned the fact they didn't sign Vladimir Guerrero, making it seem like Sheffield was second-rate.

"When you hear that from a manager, and you're out there busting your butt for him, that's disrespectful," he said.

In the HBO special, he told reporter Andrea Kremer: "I got called out in a couple of meetings that I thought were unfair. ... And [Torre] never did that with white players. I'd see a lot of white players get called in the office and treated like a man. That's the difference."

Sheffield said on Friday that it was curious that the two other black players on the Yankees at the time, Tony Womack and Kenny Lofton, also had the biggest problems with the organization.

"I went [to New York] thinking everything was first class, but I come to find out it's not," Sheffield said on Friday. "It's no different from most organizations, but it's just that they're the Yankees."

The Yankees, for their part, declined to comment when word of Sheffield's comments on HBO made its way to the Yankees clubhouse.

"I really have no comment," Torre said. "I don't even want to answer those types of questions. I'd be more comfortable not answering them."

Sheffield said his perspective of the Tigers organization "is totally different, because we don't see race over here. That's the way I grew up. All my friends were white. We don't see color. I'm about right and wrong."

On the HBO show, Sheffield also addressed his alleged steroid use, saying that he had told a grand jury he had used a steroid cream on his legs and liquid (or "clear") under his tongue. He denies knowingly using steroids.

Sheffield said he and Bonds stopped training together "because I started seeing the control factor. I started seeing, wait a minute, you aren't going to tell me what to do."

Sheffield says he no longer has communication with Bonds.

"Like I said before, I love and respect Barry to this day. I had a problem with him at that time. But I've moved on and forgave," Sheffield said. "That's all there is to it. We don't hang out at the same places. We don't do the same things, so there was no reason for communication."

The Tigers play a four-game series in New York Aug. 16-19. Asked if he's ready for the media and fan attention his comments are going to generate, Sheffield said, "They got to be ready for me."

Bob Sherwin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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