Deion Sanders was put on the disqualified list Thursday by the Atlanta Braves, who said the two-sport star refused to return to the team after attending his father’s funeral.
General Manager John Schuerholz said he was notified by Sanders’ agent, Eugene Parker, that the outfielder back would not return to the Braves after his bereavement leave. Sanders’ father died last Friday at Ft. Myers, Fla.
Sanders is unhappy with his limited playing time. In 13 games, he is hitting .281 in 32 at-bats with one home run and five runs batted in. Sanders hit .304 in 97 games last season with eight homers, 28 RBIs and 26 stolen bases.
“Obviously there were some differences in the way he feels and the way we feel,” Schuerholz said. “Hopefully it will be resolved.”
Sanders and the team have argued over a multiyear contract. The Braves renewed him at $1 million for 1993 after he rejected a three-year deal believed to be worth $11 million.
“We’d like for him to be back as soon as possible,” Schuerholz said. “He’s a valuable guy to our ballclub and he can help us win. We realize it’s a trying time for him personally and we’re hopeful that some of what has happened is due in part to that and that when some time passes, he’ll feel different.”
Sanders is an All-Pro cornerback for the Atlanta Falcons, and the Braves have sought to guarantee he would not return to the Falcons until the conclusion of the baseball season. He currently is allowed to leave the Braves after July 31.
“I think it’s his contract, not playing, his father’s death and free agency in football. Big linemen making more money,” Manager Bobby Cox said. “It all adds up, builds up. But I really don’t know. You’d have to talk to Deion.”