06/06/2003 10:18 PM ET
League reacts to suspension
Players, managers agree punishment was fair
CHICAGO -- Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella had to deal with facing Sammy Sosa for three games, why not the Yankees?
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Sosa was still in the Chicago Cubs' lineup Friday despite being issued an eight-game suspension by Major League Baseball disciplinarian Bob Watson for using a corked bat. Sosa appealed the ruling before Friday's game and will play pending a hearing.
"He played against us, why not against the Yankees?" Piniella said. "I thought eight days was fair. That's been about the norm for that type of infraction."
The incident occurred against the Devil Rays Tuesday at Wrigley Field.
"I hated to see it happen," Piniella said. "I don't look at it as a distraction from what he's accomplished. I know baseball purists might. I don't. You hate to see it happen to a baseball star, a guy who's been an icon in this business."
Houston's Jeff Bagwell said Sosa couldn't escape a penalty.
"He had to get the games, but that's not the real punishment," Bagwell said. "The punishment is now he's going to have to talk about this for the rest of his career."
Yankees manager Joe Torre agreed.
"Sammy is a likeable person, a hell of a ballplayer, and my feeling is that whether he's completely cleared or not, the jokes will continue," Torre said. "Every time he hits one a long way, people will scratch their head, and that's sad with what he's done in this game."
St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said he was more bothered by the reaction to Sosa's mistake.
"One of the unfortunate things I've seen is the comments about the fact that he's Latin," La Russa said. "(Jose) Canseco, I saw Pedro Martinez. There was a big furor over Mark (McGwire, with andro).
"I've been supportive of him (Sosa). I think you can be supportive of him without taking it farther than you should as far as comparisons. He's different than Wilton Guerrero."
Guerrero was the last player to be found guilty of using a corked bat. His bat shattered in a game June 1, 1997, when he was a rookie with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He received an eight-game suspension and $1,000 fine.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.