The solo shot that almost sailed into the street beyond left
field at Tucson Electric Park was just one of 26 hits in a game won
by the Arizona Diamondbacks 15-12, but it was part of a big day for
the 38-year-old slugger in his comeback after a year away from the
By making the 40-man roster, Sosa -- fifth on the career home run
list -- is officially a big leaguer again.
"The reason why I took the chance to come here is because I
know I can compete," he said. "I believe that putting myself in
that situation, coming here knowing I have to fight for a spot, is
something that I liked, something that I'm proud of."
Sosa's home run on a 1-0 pitch from Edgar Gonzalez was his third
in 10 spring training games. Although he struck out in his other
two at-bats, he's hitting .452 with seven RBIs.
"I still have a ways to go," said Sosa, the 1998 NL MVP with
the Chicago Cubs. "Because I made the team doesn't mean I've got
to slow down. No way."
The move nearly assures Sosa of making the 25-man roster for
opening day -- unless he gets hurt.
"I've been impressed with the adjustments he's made the last
week or 10 days," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "It's
hard to make evaluations on spring training, but when that's all
you've got, you trust yourself and you trust your people.
"He's working hard to continue to get better, and we're going
to give him that opportunity," Daniels added. "He can only take
care of the business in front of him, and he's doing a good job."
Texas catcher Gerald Laird, who hit a three-run homer, said Sosa
has been a joy to be around.
"Sammy's unbelievable, man," Laird said. "He looks great.
He's laying off tough pitches and hitting pitches they leave over
the plate. It's exciting to watch, and I'm excited to be his
teammate because it could be a big year for him."
Rangers outfielder Jerry Hairston Jr. also was told he would be
placed on the 40-man roster, club spokesman Gregg Elkin said. The
moves were not official yet because other personnel shifts were
still necessary to make room.