Baker disputes Sosa's claims on '04 finale

Manager: Player didn't have permission to leave

February 25, 2005|By Paul Sullivan | Paul Sullivan,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

MESA, Ariz. - Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker says new Orioles right fielder Sammy Sosa was conjuring up some revisionist history Wednesday when he told reporters in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that he walked out on the final game last season because Baker had given him the day off.

"Sammy's gone," Baker said. "But at least you should be able to tell the truth about things."

Sosa maintained his final-day walkout came only after Baker had told him he was off. Baker said former assistant trainer Sandy Krum served as the go-between, telling Baker the day before the final game that Sosa was feeling nicked up and wanted out of the lineup for the finale.

"Actually, [Krum] came in the night before and told me that he said he wanted off," Baker said. "I said [to Krum], `Fine. If that's how he wants it. If you don't want to play, I'll play [Jason] Dubois.' ... I didn't give him the day off - he asked for it. Again, it's a matter of who you believe."

Baker reiterated he never gave Sosa permission to leave the park. He expected Sosa to be on the bench with other position players not in the starting lineup. "Where I come from, that's what [a day off] means," Baker said.

Sosa refused to confirm to reporters in Florida that Baker had called him after the trade, leaving the impression he hadn't.

"He insinuated he didn't call me in Milwaukee, either," Baker said, referring to the phone call Aug. 17 in which Sosa allegedly volunteered to be dropped in the batting order. "Yeah, we spoke on the phone. I wouldn't say we'd spoken if we didn't. It depends on who you believe."

The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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