A sports memorabilia dealer was sentenced yesterday in Newark to four months in prison followed by four months under house arrest for a scheme in which he and a former major league umpire sold baseballs they falsely claimed were used in historic games.

The umpire, Al Clark, got the same penalties last week.

The dealer, Richard Graessle Jr., was fined $500 and ordered to pay $101,377 in federal taxes, penalties and interest on income received from the scheme but not declared.

Bissell fined Clark $10,000 and ordered him to repay $40,000, including $7,920 to a Texas man who paid that amount for one of the bogus balls.

Clark, 56, an American League umpire from 1976 to 2001, had pleaded to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

His friend, Graessle, 43, pleaded guilty to tax evasion for his role in the scheme, which operated from September 1995 to November 1998. He admitted he sold the balls to other dealers, who sold them to the public.

* BACK TO (LIMITED) WORK: Sammy Sosa's back passed the ultimate test: the Wrigley Field fences.

Sosa took batting practice yesterday for the first time since going on the disabled list and hit seven home runs.

If there are no setbacks, Sosa hopes to return in a week to 10 days.

-- From News Services