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Monday, March 01, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Major League Baseball
Grapefruit League notebook: Trammell says depression was why he sat out

By The Associated Press

Bubba Trammell
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VERO BEACH, Fla. — Bubba Trammell laughed aloud while watching television with teammates in the Los Angeles Dodgers' clubhouse.

He has a new team — and a new outlook. Trammell acknowledged publicly for the first time yesterday that he left the Yankees and sat out the second half of last season because of depression.

The well-traveled outfielder played in only 22 games for New York before his season ended abruptly in June.

"Depression — that's what it was. It had nothing to do with anybody else but myself," said Trammell, 32, who signed a one-year, $1.85 million contract with the Dodgers two months ago.

"I'm just glad I got through it. It was something I needed to take care of," he added.

There were various media reports about what happened to Trammell.

He did not want to get into details.

"I've heard all kinds of things — none of them were true," he said. "I feel better than I've ever felt in my life. I know I'll be a better baseball player than ever, there's no doubt in my mind."

The Yankees acquired Trammell from the Padres a year ago for outfielder Rondell White.

• Saying the sport's integrity is at stake, Atlanta closer John Smoltz said that he doesn't even understand the testing policy adopted as part of the collective bargaining agreement in 2002. "The more this becomes a monster, the more it plays into everybody's mind," Smoltz said after a spring-training workout. "There's a way they should do tests. Do them the way they should be done — not a platform that's just a smoke screen."

• Yankees CF Bernie Williams was released from the hospital, two days after his appendix was removed. Williams spent an extra day at St. Joseph's Hospital because of a low fever, which is not unusual after surgery. Williams is considered a longshot to be ready for the season opener March 30 in Tokyo against Tampa Bay.

Kaz Matsui, New York Mets SS, will be sidelined for a week after injuring a finger on his throwing hand during infield drills.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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