-- With no hope that he can play while the team is on the road for the next six games, the Baltimore Orioles allowed injured outfielder Sammy Sosa to return to his Miami home. Sosa, on the disabled list since Aug. 28 -- retroactive to Aug. 25 -- with a right big toe lesion, is expected to return to the team, but it is not inconceivable that he will miss the rest of the season, likely bringing an end to his Orioles career.

"I guess it's a possibility," Sosa's agent, Adam Katz, said of the likelihood the outfielder could be out the remainder of the year. "I wouldn't expect for it to take until the end of the year. We're hopeful that he can get back."

The decision for Sosa to go home was made by the outfielder, Katz and Orioles Executive Vice President Jim Beattie, who all agreed there was no reason for Sosa to travel to Seattle or Texas if he wasn't going to be able to play.

"It's really just to let the toe heal," Beattie said. "He has had this before and he felt it would take some time."

The decision comes only days after Rafael Palmeiro agreed to go home to Texas while he rehabilitates his injured right knee. Though the circumstances appear similar, there are important differences. Palmeiro, suspended earlier this season for steroid use, was sent home to avoid causing a distraction to the team. The Orioles don't have that same fear with Sosa.

On Tuesday Sosa said his two foot ailments -- he missed almost two weeks with an abscess on his left foot -- have affected his hitting.

"There's nothing he can do about it now," Katz said. "It's more comfortable for him to be in Miami. That's it. There's no story here."

Ponson Clears Waivers

Pitcher Sidney Ponson, who was placed on termination waivers by the Orioles a week ago, cleared waivers and is a free agent. He was 7-11 this season with a 6.21 ERA and was winless since June 18.