NEW YORK – Gary Sheffield was traded from the New York Yankees to the Detroit Tigers on Friday for three pitching prospects.

Sheffield played for Tigers manager Jim Leyland and team president Dave Dombrowski in 1997, when Leyland managed the Marlins to the World Series title and Dombrowski was Florida’s general manager.

“I’m more than happy to be reunited with guys that I’m familiar with,” Sheffield said.

Detroit and New York reached a tentative agreement on the deal on Tuesday, and the Tigers had a three-day window to agree to a contract extension. Sheffield and the AL champions agreed Thursday night to a two-year extension through 2009, and Sheffield had a physical Friday.

“This is one of the ultimate bats in baseball and one of the ultimate people in baseball,” Leyland said. “I have the utmost respect for him.”

Detroit’s current starting outfield has Craig Monroe in left, Curtis Granderson in center and Magglio Ordonez in right. Sheffield will be primarily a designated hitter but will see some time in the outfield, Leyland said.

“We have said all along that we wanted to add a big bat,” Dombrowski said.

Sheffield said becoming a DH could prolong his career, and he’s happy to rejoin Leyland and Dombrowski.

“They treat you like men,” Sheffield said. “To reunite with them after 10 years is a blessing.”

New York gets right-handers Humberto Sanchez, Kevin Whelan and Anthony Claggett.

The 23-year-old Sanchez was a combined 10-6 with a 2.53 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 123 innings with Triple-A Toledo and Double-A Erie this year. Whelan, 22, was 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA and 27 saves for Class A Lakeland. Claggett, 22, was 7-2 with an 0.91 ERA and 14 saves for Class A West Michigan.

Ramirez wins ninth Silver Slugger award

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Boston left fielder Manny Ramirez won his ninth Silver Slugger on Friday, while New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and New York Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran were among 13 first-time winners.

Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and Mets shortstop Jose Reyes also earned the honor for the first time.

Ramirez, who has won for eight straight seasons, is tied for third with Barry Larkin in career Silver Sluggers, trailing only Barry Bonds (12) and Mike Piazza (10).

Angels right fielder Vladimir Guerrero won for the sixth time and Boston designated David Ortiz earned his third, all in a row. First-time winners in the AL included Minnesota first baseman Justin Morneau and catcher Joe Mauer, and Chicago White Sox third baseman Joe Crede and right fielder Jermaine Dye.

Washington left fielder Alfonso Soriano won his first NL Silver Slugger after winning three at second base in the AL. Florida’s Miguel Cabrera won at third base after earning the honor as a left fielder last year.

NL first-time winners included Philadelphia first baseman Ryan Howard and second baseman Chase Utley, Colorado left fielder Matt Holliday, Atlanta catcher Brian McCann and Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano.

Astros, Biggio agree to $5.15 million deal

HOUSTON – Second baseman Craig Biggio and the Houston Astros agreed Friday to a $5.15 million, one-year contract.

Biggio, who turns 41 in December, needs 70 hits to become the first Astro and 27th player in history to reach 3,000 hits. Next season will be Biggio’s 20th with the Astros.

Edmonds, Cards agree on 2-year contract

ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Cardinals agreed Friday to a $19 million, two-year contract with center fielder Jim Edmonds, their first major move since winning the World Series.

The 36-year-old Edmonds had filed provisionally for free agency on Nov. 2, awaiting a decision by the team on its $10 million option, which carried a $3 million buyout.

St. Louis had until Saturday to exercise its option on the eight-time Gold Glove winner. Instead, the sides agreed to a new deal that calls for an $11 million salary next year and $8 million in 2008. St. Louis will defer $3 million of his 2007 salary, paying it in equal installments from 2010-19.

The deal reflects the Cardinals’ satisfaction with Edmonds’ strong performance in the postseason on the heels of an injury-plagued season that was his worst this decade.

“Jim has been a great Cardinal and one of the best players in the game since he’s been with us,” team chairman William DeWitt said. “We are pleased to have him back for the next two years.”

Edmonds shook off physical problems that dogged him throughout the regular season, leading the Cardinals with 10 RBIs in the postseason. He went a month between starts due to post-concussion syndrome and also had shoulder and foot injuries, batting .257 with 19 homers and 70 RBIs – his lowest totals since 1999.

General manager Walt Jocketty said the Cardinals would like to have Edmonds finish his career in St. Louis.

“It wasn’t a difficult decision,” Jocketty said. “We wanted to make sure he was OK. Obviously, he was in the month of October.”

Edmonds batted only .156 against left-handers, leading manager Tony La Russa to ponder at one point whether to platoon him in the playoffs. During the postseason, Edmonds needed a daily numbing injection in his left foot related to a problem caused by a bunion, and may also need minor offseason shoulder surgery.

In the last six weeks of the regular season, he made only four starts.

None of that held him back in the postseason. Edmonds homered twice in the NL championship series and his two-run double off lefty Nate Robertson provided the first runs in the Cardinals’ 5-0 victory over the Tigers in Game 3 of the World Series.

Edmonds also made several nice plays in the outfield, topped by a spectacular catch at the wall in Game 5 of the NLCS to rob the Mets’ Jose Reyes of extra bases.

Jocketty said Edmonds was “extremely happy” with the contract extension.

“He came back strong physically and played well,” Jocketty said. “The two-year extension is something we felt we wanted to try and do.”

Since joining the Cardinals in a trade from Anaheim, Edmonds has ranked in the top five in slugging percentage, home runs, RBIs, doubles and batting average among all center fielders. He has batted .288 with 229 homers, fourth on the franchise career list, and 660 RBIs in 988 games with the Cardinals.

Edmonds won a Gold Glove in each of his first six seasons with St. Louis. His injury-plagued 2006 ended that run.

AP-ES-11-10-06 1921EST

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