Sosa has a hit in all 10 spring games he's played in
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 game.
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.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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Follow the day's news from spring training in the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues as we begin the countdown toward Opening Day on Sunday (Mets at world champion Cardinals, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2):
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• Pirates send Sanchez to the DL
• Rogers has clot removed, will miss first half
• Sabathia throws, says he's ready for opener
• Pavano to start Opening Day for Yankeees
• A's put Dan Johnson on DL with hip injury
• Walker signs minor league deal with A's
• Grapefruit: Towers wins spot in Jays' rotation
• Cactus: Big Unit to start season on DL