Outspoken infielder Gary Sheffield, who criticized teammates, management and team officials during four seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, was traded yesterday to the San Diego Padres.
Sheffield and minor-league pitcher Geoff Kellogg were sent to San Diego for right-handed pitcher Ricky Bones and two minor-leaguers, shortstop Jose Valentin and outfielder Matt Mieske.
"It's a load off my back," Sheffield said. "It's what I've wanted for the longest, a long time."
Three years ago, Sheffield criticized the team's pitchers for not protecting him when opposing pitchers knocked him down and also said team management was not treating him with respect. He was not happy about being moved from shortstop to third base.
Last spring he accused then-general manager Harry Dalton of "ruining" the team. This spring, he criticized former manager Tom Trebelhorn and team president Bud Selig for pressuring him to play hurt last season when he batted .194 while playing in only 50 games.
Brewers general manager Sal Bando said Sheffield's public criticism was not the reason the club made the trade.
Sheffield, 23, has a career .259 batting average, with 21 homers and 133 RBI. He hit .294 with 10 homers and 67 RBI in 1990.
Bones, 23, will join the major-league camp and compete for a spot in the rotation. He was 4-6 with a 4.83 ERA in 11 games last season.
Valentin, 22, hit .251 with 17 homers and 68 runs last season in Double-A. Mieske, 24, batted .341 with 15 homers, 119 RBI and 39 steals in Single-A. Kellogg, 20, was 8-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 27 games in Single-A.
Bando said either second baseman Jim Gantner or catcher B.J. Surhoff would fill Sheffield's spot at third.
* ANGELS: Matt Keough was leaning forward in the dugout, hands on his knees, intently watching teammate Don Robinson pitch. Then Keough saw the foul ball off the bat of the Giants' John Patterson spinning toward him. It almost killed him.
"It was like slow motion and like the ball wasn't right at me but was out in front of me," Keough said yesterday, speaking extensively on the incident for the first time. "I turned to the left and put both my hands up and the ball went between my right thumb and index finger.
"It was kind of like a slicing golf shot. I turned my head to the left and the ball hit me and went behind me. It was like a big loud sound goes off in your head, like a real loud hum. My feet and hands were tingly and numb and I was rolling forward. Alvin Davis kind of caught me and started telling me, 'Stay here, stay here.' I was on the edge of going into bye-bye land."
Doctors later told Keough he was lucky he didn't die after being struck by the foul at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Stadium on March 16. He was quickly taken to a hospital across the street from the stadium, and emergency surgery was performed to relieve pressure on his brain caused by a blood clot. Doctors say he may pitch again this summer.
Meanwhile, the club lost $3.6 million last season and faces a projected loss of $8.5 million by the end of 1992, executive vice president Jackie Autry said.
The wife of owner Gene Autry said that given those numbers, "it doesn't make sense, from a financial standpoint" to own a baseball club today, adding she and her husband will sell the franchise if the outlook doesn't improve.