CHICAGO -- Sammy Sosa is not sure when he can return to the Chicago Cubs after taking his first swings in the batting cage Saturday since injuring his
back while sneezing.
The slugger is on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained ligament in his lower back, an ailment brought on by two violent sneezes May 16 in San
Diego. After working out before Saturday's game, Sosa said he is still experiencing pain in his back at the end of his swing. He does not have a
definite timetable for his return and does not plan to rush.
"I don't know when I will come back," said Sosa, who is batting .291 with 10 homers and 24 RBI. He is on the DL for the fifth time in his 16-year
"I don't want to go back here sooner and then be hurt again -- it's going to be bad. I rather wait and get ready with everything I have and come back
because this is a delicate situation," he said.
The Cubs were 6-10 in his absence entering Saturday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Sosa was on the DL last season after the nail on his right
big toe was removed, causing him to miss 18 games. He also was suspended seven games for using a corked bat. The Cubs were 13-12 without him.
Sosa also doesn't plan on going on a rehab assignment.
"Minor league or major league doesn't have nothing to do with me. I just want to be ready first," Sosa said. "Forget about minor league, I don't care
about that, I don't need to go nowhere. I just have to get ready and take care of business, like always."
The Cubs already had put nine players on the disabled list including Sosa, Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. The team record for DL trips in one season is 16
Prior returned from the disabled list on Friday and allowed just two hits, striking out eight and getting a no-decision as Pittsburgh beat the Cubs
Wood threw long toss before Saturday's game and said he is progressing.
[Edited on 5/6/04 by TRD]