Sammy Sosa was fined $87,400 -- one day's salary -- for arriving late and leaving early at the Cubs' regular season finale at Wrigley Field.

Sosa arrived 70 minutes before Sunday's first pitch, and he apparently left 15 minutes after the first pitch without putting on his uniform, according to security cameras in the team's parking lot. Sosa told the Chicago Sun-Times he was in the clubhouse until the seventh inning and also said he was tired of Manager Dusty Baker blaming him for the Cubs' failures.

"It's certainly inexcusable for him not be at the ballpark and not dressed with his teammates," GM Jim Hendry said.

The episode, following an injury-plagued season in which Sosa batted just .253 with 35 homers and 85 RBI, has led to speculation the Cubs will try to trade him.

Sosa is to make $17 million next season and the club has an $18 million option for 2006 with a $4.5 million buyout.

* THOMAS FACES LONG REHAB: The White Sox are optimistic Frank Thomas's latest surgery will clear up chronic problems with his feet, but said the slugger faces a long, slow rehabilitation.

Thomas had a bone graft and two screws inserted in his left ankle Wednesday. He'll be in a cast for at least eight weeks and is expected to be out up to six months, meaning he could miss the start of spring training.

"If all goes well, he might be a little bit behind," White Sox trainer Herm Schneider said.

But the two-time MVP's recovery won't be rushed, Schneider said. The 275-pound Thomas is a "front-foot" hitter, meaning most of the pressure is on his left foot when he swings, and doctors and the White Sox want to make sure the ankle is fully healed before he plays on it.

-- From News Services