From the Asssociated Press :

Gary Sheffield reported to spring training Tuesday and was upbeat after the Yankees said they’d likely keep him around for 2007.

Sheffield is entering the final season of a $39 million, three-year contract, and the Yankees hold a $13 million option for 2007.

“They brought me in and told me they were probably going to pick the option up,” Sheffield said after meeting with general manager Brian Cashman. “You always want to earn whatever you get. I take a lot pride in that. He didn’t have to bring me in today. I appreciate that. When I was a free agent, a lot of teams called and I really didn’t answer. There was only one place, and that still remains the same. I don’t want to play for nobody else but the Yankees.”

Cashman said there is no timetable regarding a final decision. Sheffield’s contract calls for the option to be exercised within five days of the end of the World Series or Nov. 5.

“He’s such a great player, I’d been surprised at the end of this thing we’re not doing something,” Cashman said.

The above report was posted at 4:46 EST. On tonight’s 6pm “SportsCenter”, Sheffield was shown answering questions at Legends Field, and seemed very certain that Cashman, during an earlier conversation, had in fact promised the Yankees would be exercising the option.

“Man, I didn’t know my day was going to turn out like this. I appreciated it. I’m just thankful to be wearing this uniform for two more years.”

(Sheffield was in street clothes at the time).

Moments later, asked to confirm Sheffield’s version of events, Cashman denied having exercised the option.

All things said, this negotiate-your-own-contract business is working out splendidly for Gary (and his little mustache).