BASEBALL TONIGHT EXTRA
Seems like old times for Sosa
Sammy Sosa hit a solo shot Wednesday to join the 600 home run club, and -- appropriately enough -- it came against the Cubs, the team he had starred with (and hit 545 homers for) during the prime seasons of his career. There hasn't been a lot to cheer about for Rangers fans this season as the team has been horrendous in Ron Washington's debut season. But for at least a few minutes they could share in Sosa's delight at becoming the fifth player in history to hit that many homers.
There is a lot of debate as to Sosa's place in history, and that's something that's still rather unsettled. On the field, he'll best be remembered for his quick, powerful stroke and the little hop he did after almost all of his home runs. Sosa's bat speed has faded at this point in his career, and it will be interesting to see how much further he chooses to go in his comeback, with a major milestone having been reached.
FORWARD THINKING: THURSDAY
• Yankees at Rockies, 3:05 ET: Roger Clemens (1-1, 3.65), who is going for career win No. 350, makes his third start of the season for the Yankees. The 44-year-old right-hander has issued three walks in 12 1/3 innings while striking out 15. The Rockies' Rodrigo Lopez (3-0, 2.90) has a career mark of 7-8 with a 6.02 ERA in 23 games (19 starts) against the Yankees. Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon (if they can get him in the lineup) each have four career homers against Lopez.
• Dodgers at Blue Jays, 7:07 ET: The Dodgers are going to the bullpen, turning to reliever Chad Billingsley (4-0, 3.09) to take Jason Schmidt's spot in the rotation. According to The Los Angeles Times, Billingsley, who has made 23 appearances this season, is expected to throw around 60 pitches. Shaun Marcum (4-2, 3.41) is 3-0 with a 2.38 ERA in seven starts since being added to Toronto's starting rotation on May 13. He recorded 11 strikeouts in his last start.
• Pirates at Mariners, 10:05 ET: John Van Benschoten (0-1, 3.18) allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings in his last start, his first since 2004. The 27-year-old right-hander walked three and struck out four in the Pirates' 6-1 loss to the White Sox. Seattle's Felix Hernandez (3-4, 4.58) has surrendered 39 hits, including six home runs, in his past four starts (two losses, two no-decisions), a span of 23 2/3 innings.
NEWS AND NOTES
• Dodgers right-hander Jason Schmidt had season-ending shoulder surgery and is not expected to return until spring training next year. Schmidt, who signed a $47 million, three-year contract as a free agent during the offseason, went 1-4 with a 6.31 ERA in six starts.
• Braves third baseman Chipper Jones is hurting again. The oft-injured Jones left after the sixth inning because of an ailing groin. This season, he's played only 50 of Atlanta's 73 games, spending time on the disabled list after spraining both hands.
• Right-hander Anibal Sanchez will undergo exploratory arthroscopic shoulder surgery Thursday. Sanchez, who was 10-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 2006, made only six starts this year, going 2-1 with a 4.80 ERA, before he was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on May 4.