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Orioles Notebook

Sosa Says He Was Only Joking

By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 13, 2005; Page D06

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., April 12 -- A Sammy Sosa retirement party shouldn't be planned any time soon. Sosa, 36, Tuesday disputed a report in the Dominican Republic newspaper El Caribe that said the outfielder would retire before his 40th birthday.

"I won't make it past 40," he supposedly told the newspaper.

Luis Matos, right, hitting .353, gives the bottom of the Orioles' lineup some pep. (Joe Giza -- Reuters)

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"I don't know what he's talking about," Sosa said prior to Tuesday's game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. "I was surprised when I got here and people told me about it. I guess you can't joke with anybody else."

Sosa, who was making his first appearance at Tropicana Field, said he isn't sure which reporter wrote the story. He remembers a reporter standing nearby when he was joking with another person about retirement.

"I was talking to somebody else," Sosa said. "I said I don't want to play until I'm 45-46. It's something that doesn't make any sense. I guess everything that I say is a headline."

Mazzilli: Matos in a Good Spot

Baltimore Manager Lee Mazzilli said Luis Matos's hot start -- a .350 batting average -- likely won't move him up in the lineup. Mazzilli had toyed with the idea of using somebody other than Melvin Mora at the second spot during spring training. It likely won't be Matos.

"I like exactly where he's at," Mazzilli said. "I think our bottom half of the lineup does a lot of damage." . . .

Outfielder Val Majewski, the team's offensive minor league player of the year who had right shoulder surgery in March, recently had a checkup and is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation. Trainer Richie Bancells said it's still unlikely Majewski will play this season.

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