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Sosa just grateful to still have a head

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 23, 2003

CHICAGO -- Sammy Sosa is clearing a spot in his trophy case for his mangled batting helmet.

The Cubs slugger said the helmet kept him from being seriously injured Sunday when Salomon Torres beaned him with a fastball. The ball's impact was so severe it ripped a large hole in front of his left ear flap.

"If I wouldn't have the helmet, I don't know where I'd be today," Sosa said Tuesday before the game against the Padres. "I have to say I'm very lucky. I have to thank God one more time because that was a tough one."

Sosa sustained a few small cuts, but the beaning stunned him more than anything.

NOT ONLY HERE: White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf insisted unruly fans are not limited to his team's ballpark and said tougher laws are the best way to keep spectators off the field. "This is not a White Sox problem, it's a problem at all facilities across the country that has to be addressed," he said.

State Sen. Mattie Hunter announced she would propose a bill that would jail fans for 30 days and fine them a minimum $1,000 if they are convicted of trespassing during a pro sports event.

CONTRERAS THROWS: Struggling right-hander Jose Contreras worked out at the Yankees minor-league complex in Tampa, throwing 82 pitches off a mound but not facing hitters. He is scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Columbus twice next week.

Shortstop Derek Jeter, also in Tampa rehabilitating from a dislocated left shoulder, could start swinging a bat in the next couple of days. Jeter caught the ball during throwing sessions for the second straight day.

The Yankees got good news about right-handed reliever Steve Karsay, who shut down a throwing session Monday. Orthopedic specialist James Andrews said there was no rotator cuff damage in Karsay's right shoulder, only inflammation.

DRUG CLAIM DISPUTED: If amphetamine use is "rampant" on the Padres as Tony Gwynn claims, manager Bruce Bochy and general manager Kevin Towers see no evidence of it. "If we knew there was a problem, we would have taken care of it," Towers said.

In an article published in Tuesday's New York Times, Gwynn estimated that 50 percent of position players use amphetamines and said use is growing. ... Padres centerfielder Mark Kotsay left in the first against the Cubs because of a back strain.

SARS SCARE: Concerned about the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in the Toronto area, Major League Baseball's medical adviser plans to recommend that players on the 10 teams visiting Toronto through the All-Star break avoid signing autographs, visiting hospitals, using public transportation and mingling with large crowds while in the area. The Rays visit Toronto May 13-15.

EVERETT ATTACK: Juan Carlos Serrano, 24, of Union City, Calif., pleaded innocent to misdemeanor charges of battery and assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly beaning Rangers rightfielder Carl Everett with a cell phone Saturday. ... Texas centerfielder Doug Glanville has a ruptured tendon in his right hamstring and is considering surgery that would keep him out another month.

"BULL" SESSION: The stars of Bull Durham will talk about baseball, movies and politics next month with Bob Costas following their snub by the Hall of Fame. Actors Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon will be among the guests joining Costas on May 2, marking the start of HBO's third season of On The Record With Bob Costas.

DODGERS: Right-handed reliever Guillermo Mota was arrested Monday morning on suspicion of DUI, the California Highway Patrol said.

METS: Rightfielder Jeromy Burnitz will miss four to six weeks after breaking a bone in his left hand when he was hit by a pitch. ... Right-hander David Cone left the game against Houston after two innings with a sore left hip.

ORIOLES: Baltimore played a third straight game without manager Mike Hargrove, who could return today if his ailing mother continues to improve. Rita Ann Hargrove had her infected gallbladder removed Sunday.

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