For O's, contacting Sosa becoming a tough reach


Team has not heard from slugger, who can come off DL Saturday

September 05, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

BOSTON - In five days, the Orioles can activate Sammy Sosa from the disabled list.

They have to find him first.

The club isn't sure how Sosa is feeling since he had a lesion removed from his right big toe, an ailment that put him on the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 26. Interim manager Sam Perlozzo hasn't been in contact with Sosa, who is believed to have returned to his Miami home, and head trainer Richie Bancells' phone calls have gone unanswered.

"I'd like to talk to him and see how his foot's coming," Perlozzo said. "We've tried to get ahold of him a few times. It's not a big deal. We're basically just checking in and letting him know that we're concerned about him."

It's impossible for the Orioles to know when Sosa will return if they can't reach him.

"I guess a lot of that is going to depend on how his foot is and if he's ready to come off right away, or can do anything prior to that," Perlozzo said. "If he can't, it's probably going to be another four or five days to get him in playing shape.

"Until we talk to him and see how he's coming, we really don't know what's going on with it."

Sosa's agent, Adam Katz, couldn't be reached for comment.

At the time Sosa went on the DL, Perlozzo didn't expect him to miss more than the mandatory amount of days. And neither did Sosa.

"He thought a week to 10 days," Perlozzo said last month, "but at that point in time, you might as well DL him."

Sosa can be activated Saturday, and his time with the Orioles is running short.

He's hitting .221 with 14 homers and 45 RBIs, production far below what the Orioles expected after trading for him in late January. He's in a 5-for-50 slump, and batting .208 in 67 games since coming off the disabled list for the first time May 24.

"It's reasonable to assume that we expected to get 25-30 home runs and at least 80 RBIs out of him, but it didn't work out that way," Perlozzo said. "It's not from lack of work or trying. There are some other ones on the team, too, who haven't produced as well as we expected. He's not the only one."

Gil returns

It took awhile, but backup catcher Geronimo Gil finally returned to the lineup.

Gil played in a major league game for the first time since going on the disabled list July 3 with a sprained left thumb. He was 3-for-7 with an RBI and two runs in three injury rehabilitation games at Double-A Bowie.

In his first at-bat, Gil was robbed on a diving catch by third baseman Bill Mueller. He also grounded to short and first.

"He shouldn't be rusty," Perlozzo said. "I just hope he doesn't catch one off his thumb and aggravates it. The only real concern I have is that doesn't happen. Everything else, I'm comfortable with."

The Orioles expected Gil to return much sooner, but he kept informing them that he couldn't swing a bat. Sal Fasano stayed on the roster as Javy Lopez's backup until rosters expanded.

"I talked to Richie at the time it happened, and we felt if it was going to completely heal, it was going to take about six weeks," Perlozzo said. "You just hope nothing happens to him and he can get through the rest of the month."

Gil's biggest contribution was throwing out Johnny Damon at second base after a two-run double in the fifth inning. Damon rounded second and couldn't get back after Gil took Brian Roberts' throw at the plate.

Tejada may play on

Shortstop Miguel Tejada played in his 892nd consecutive game yesterday, leaving him three behind Stan Musial for seventh place on the all-time list. Joe Sewell is sixth at 1,103.

Tejada indicated last week that he would end the streak voluntarily later this month, but he's backed off that statement, which he made out of frustration as the Orioles continued to lose. Perlozzo is hesitant to rest him without Tejada's approval.

"He hasn't said anything to me," Perlozzo said. "Until he mentions it, I won't even approach it. It does me no good to talk to him unless he really wants to do it. I don't think he's anxious right now to take a day off. Maybe later in September he will be."



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