Sosa headed back to Chicago

Updated: June 15, 2004, 11:24 PM ET
Associated Press

JACKSON, Tenn. -- Sammy Sosa struck out looking in his only at-bat in his final rehabilitation game with the Chicago Cubs' Double-A affiliate on Tuesday night.

Sosa was supposed to play right field in his third rehab start but was the designated hitter due to wet conditions. He batted leadoff for the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx and had one plate appearance before the game was rained out.

Sosa said he was disappointed he did not get to play in the field as planned. He was 2-for-7 with three strikeouts, a double and an RBI single in three games with the Diamond Jaxx.

"I think those two games that I played here are going to help me," Sosa said. "I'll go back to the major leagues Friday and be ready for any team. I'm in shape, feel great."

Sosa wanted to return to Chicago late Tuesday night but inclement weather kept him in Tennessee. He plans to practice at Wrigley Field on Wednesday and said he will be examined by a team doctor on Thursday before playing against Oakland on Friday.

Sosa was hitting .291 with 10 home runs and 24 RBIs for the Cubs before his injury. He has been on the disabled list since May 16 with a sprained ligament in his lower back brought on by two sneezes. He has 549 career home runs, ninth on the all-time list.

A sellout crowd of more than 6,000 at Pringles Park saw Sosa look at a 2-2 strike on the inside corner by left-hander Heath Phillips. Sosa stared at the umpire in disgust, flipped his bat onto the grass near the dugout, then picked the bat up and went into the dugout.

Sosa's ready to return to Chicago.

"These are beautiful people here. I love them," Sosa said. "But it's time to go up to the real deal."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press