Comeback kid: Sosa Gets 2 More Hits

Wednesday, March 14th 2007, 7:39 am
By: News On 6

Sammy Sosa is off to a better start than anyone would have imagined _ except the slugger himself.

The seven-time All-Star got two more hits Tuesday, and his comeback with the Texas Rangers is going exceedingly well. He even sounds a little annoyed that anyone ever doubted him.

``I'm a good player. I may surprise other people, but I never surprise myself. I know I was out for a year, but give me some credit. You're talking to me like I've never hit before,'' Sosa said. ``I'm a positive thinker. I never think negative. If I show up for spring training it's for a reason _ because I know I can make it. I'm not here for the money. I've got money. I'm not here because I'm struggling. I'm a gamer.''

The 38-year-old Sosa went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI during a 12-8 loss to the Chicago White Sox in Surprise, Ariz. In nine games this spring, he's hitting .464 (13-for-28) with two homers, two doubles, a triple and six RBIs.

Sosa sat out last season after batting only .221 with 14 homers in 102 games for Baltimore in 2005.

``Don't tell me this is spring training,'' he said. ``I came here to play and I've been playing good. Spring training or not, it doesn't matter to me. I could be playing in Mexico and it would be the same thing.''

The 1998 NL MVP is 12 homers shy of becoming the fifth player in major league history to hit 600.

``I haven't taken a year off in 17 years since I started playing,'' Sosa said. ``I feel hungry again.''

Rangers manager Ron Washington said he had little doubt about Sosa's ability to hit _ even after a year out of the game.

``When you find a guy like him with the work ethic he has, you trust him until he proves you wrong. And he hasn't proven me wrong yet,'' Washington said.

Padres 5, Rockies 5, 10 innings

At Tucson, Ariz., Rockies manager Clint Hurdle walked toward the mound and shouted at San Diego's Doug Brocail after the reliever hit a Colorado batter with a pitch for the second time in four days.

Brocail plunked All-Star Matt Holliday on the hand with a fourth-inning pitch. Hurdle was later ejected along with Rockies pitcher Jeff Francis after the left-hander threw behind Kevin Kouzmanoff in a testy game.

Todd Helton hit a three-run homer off Padres starter David Wells.

Mariners 4, Brewers 2

At Peoria, Ariz., Jarrod Washburn overcame early struggles to pitch four solid innings for Seattle. Milwaukee ace Ben Sheets posted his best outing of the spring, throwing five shutout innings.

Diamondbacks 6, Cubs 5

At Tucson, Ariz., Micah Owings, one of several candidates looking to earn a slot in Arizona's rotation, tossed three scoreless innings. Eric Byrnes homered off Chicago starter Wade Miller, who allowed two runs and five hits in four innings, striking out five. Carlos Quentin also connected for the Diamondbacks.

Angels 13, Royals 7

At Tempe, Ariz., Garret Anderson and Brandon Wood hit their first homers of spring training and Los Angeles got 18 hits. Angels right-hander John Lackey, in line to start on opening day, pitched 3 1-3 innings. He allowed one run and six hits with five strikeouts in his second outing of the spring.

Reds 6, Yankees 3

At Tampa, Fla., Mike Mussina had another tough outing for New York, allowing three runs and five hits in three innings. Josh Hamilton added to his remarkable spring for the Reds, going 2-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly.

Astros 11, Braves 3

At Kissimmee, Fla., Atlanta starter Tim Hudson threw four comfortable innings, allowing two runs and five hits. Houston ace Roy Oswalt went four innings, his longest stint of the spring. He gave up two runs and seven hits while striking out three.

Marlins 4, Orioles 1

At Jupiter, Fla., Miguel Cabrera said his first home run of spring training wasn't personal, even though it bounced on the balcony outside general manager Larry Beinfest's office beyond the left-field wall at Roger Dean Stadium.

Cabrera won a $7.4 million salary in arbitration last month after Beinfest and the Marlins offered $6.7 million. Before that, Beinfest criticized Cabrera for missing a team promotional event. Cabrera blamed the absence on his father's illness in Venezuela.

Dodgers 4, Tigers 3

At Vero Beach, Fla., Rafael Furcal grounded out his first two times up, then doubled off Jason Grilli in the first action for the Los Angeles leadoff hitter since March 1. He had been sidelined by a sore right shoulder.

Twins 5, Cardinals 2

At Fort Myers, Fla., Albert Pujols grounded out and walked against two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana. Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein started for the first time since the spring training opener Feb. 28, when he strained his left oblique muscle. He went 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI groundout.

Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0

At Dunedin, Fla., A.J. Burnett allowed one hit over four innings, struck out five and walked two. Boston starter Kyle Snyder allowed two hits in three innings, and John McDonald hit an RBI single in the fifth inning off Bryan Corey to drive in Jason Phillips, who caught all nine innings.

Mets 6, Indians 5

At Winter Haven, Fla., Jose Reyes hit a two-run homer off C.C. Sabathia and stole his sixth base of spring training. Shawn Green's homer sparked a four-run second off Sabathia, who struck out four, but gave up four runs and five hits in four innings.

Phillies 11, Devil Rays 8

At St. Petersburg, Fla., Scott Kazmir gave up three runs and five hits in four innings, including Rod Barajas' two-run homer. Ty Wigginton had a pair of home runs and had three RBIs for Tampa Bay, which lost its 11th straight and dropped to 1-12.

Athletics 7, Giants 4

At Scottsdale, Ariz., San Francisco closer Armando Benitez threw another scoreless inning as he works his way back from knee injuries. Barry Bonds got the night off after playing the previous four days.