With the season dwindling and therefore the opportunity for playing time also decreasing, the Orioles and Sammy Sosa have decided it is best that the outfielder not play again this season, perhaps ending his tenure in Baltimore.
"Jim [Beattie, the team's executive vice president] and Sammy and I worked this out today," Sosa's agent, Adam Katz, said Saturday. "We felt it was the best course of action. [Sammy] feels good and he could go to work. But by the time he'd be ready, there might only be a couple of games left."
Sosa, who was placed on the disabled list Aug. 28 with a right toe lesion, had been allowed to rehabilitate at home in Miami. Katz said Sosa's toe had healed but that he wasn't in game shape yet. The decision to end Sosa's season comes only a day after the Orioles announced that first baseman Rafael Palmeiro would not return to the team this year.
But Sosa's decision does not mean he is thinking about retirement despite hitting just .221 with 14 home runs in 102 games this year.
"Sammy has a lot of confidence he has a lot left in the tank," Katz said.
Sosa has attributed his problems this season to various injuries. In May, Sosa missed almost two weeks because of a staph infection and abscess on his left foot, which seemed to bother him all season.
"I wouldn't attribute it to one thing," Katz said of Sosa's struggles, "though the injuries had a lot to do with it."
Katz said he expected to speak to the Orioles shortly after the season about bringing Sosa back to Baltimore. Sosa will be a free agent this offseason.
"Certainly [we'll] explore it," Katz said.
The Orioles paid approximately $9 million of the $25 million owed this season to Sosa, who was acquired in February from the Chicago Cubs for Jerry Hairston Jr. and three minor leaguers.