Sheffield ready for live pitching

Sheffield to begin batting practice

DETROIT -- Tigers slugger Gary Sheffield has begun taking swings and is set to begin hitting live batting practice as he works his way back from a strained left oblique muscle he suffered May 26 at Anaheim.

Sheffield, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since suffering the injury, said he began swinging on light toss pitches two days ago at less than full strength, and then picked it up on Sunday. He hopes to begin taking live batting practice with the rest of the team on Tuesday.

It isn't a sign that he'll be ready to come off the DL soon, but as he put it: "I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And that's what I feel good about."

He's certainly feeling better than last week when he was struggling to move around at all while dealing with the injury.

"I've heard about guys with this injury before, and the way they describe it, it's true," Sheffield said. "You don't want this injury. It's one of those things where it hurts you to do anything. You can't play with your kids. Sitting down, it hurts. Laying down, it hurts. I wouldn't wish this on anybody.

"I thought two days ago that I'd be able to walk out on the field and hit. I went in there and I felt good. I got ready like I'm getting game ready, went in there in the cage and took a swing and felt it. As I kept swinging, it started feeling better."

He has felt better with each day. The fact that he's now over the cold bug that went around the team during their West Coast trip helps.

"The worst thing was the sneezing," Sheffield said. "Dealing with those allergies, when you sneeze, it almost paralyzes you."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.