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BP stint a success for Sosa
06/08/2004  7:39 PM ET
CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa said Tuesday his back felt good and then launched seven home runs during three rounds of batting practice to prove it.

Sosa, sidelined since May 16 with a lower back strain, took batting practice for the first time in three weeks and said he'll know more on Wednesday.

"Everything felt great," Sosa said after the session, "but I have to wait until tomorrow."

Sosa warmed up by hitting off the batting tee for the second time since he hurt his back sneezing. He also hit on Saturday at Wrigley Field.

"I'm 35 again," said Sosa, who said he felt like a "95-year-old" when the freak injury happened. "I don't have any pain, thank God. It's going to take a couple days. We'll see what happens."

Sosa said he could be ready in a week, possibly 10 days. It's been tough to watch from the sidelines.

"I know (the team) is going through a tough situation right now," Sosa said. "We're over .500. We're there. It's just a matter of time before everybody comes back and we'll take off again.

   Sammy Sosa  /   RF
Born: 11/12/68
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 220 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R

"I'll be back in a week, week and a half," he said. "Everything will be different. We've been kind of struggling but we'll go from there."

Cubs manager Dusty Baker won't set a timetable.

"He's got to do some work first before he can get into a game," Baker said. "He's got to make sure his legs are ready, make sure his arm is ready so he doesn't get his arm sore. He's been going to therapy and rehab. Knock on wood, he'll be ready for something this weekend -- not game stuff -- but something."

Sosa's first batting practice home run landed in the basket rimming the left-field bleacher seats. He reached the right-field seats once and the center-field backdrop twice in the second round, and launched one of his three homers in the third round over the left-field bleachers onto Waveland Avenue.

"I'm very comfortable that I don't have any pain and can swing normal again," Sosa said. "It's a good feeling."

The only change in Sosa's routine is that the therapist recommended he loosen up more before his at-bats.

"I just have to continue to do the program that he told me to do," Sosa said. "I have to warm up before I go to swing the bat and that's what I'm going to continue to do. That will help me a lot down the road."

Sosa was hitting .291 with 10 home runs and 24 RBIs when he was sidelined. He ranks second among National League outfielders in the All-Star balloting, trailing San Francisco's Barry Bonds.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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