Sosa, Rangers negotiating toward deal

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DALLAS – Sammy Sosa and the Texas Rangers kept up negotiations on a minor league contract Thursday, working their way toward a deal.

The Rangers and Sosa’s agent, Adam Katz, have exchanged a couple of proposals. While they could finalize a deal this week, Katz said Thursday that the sides had not yet reached an agreement.

Texas has offered Sosa a deal that would require him to earn his spot on the roster during spring training. The 38-year-old former slugger, 12 short of 600 home runs in a 17-season career that began with the Rangers in 1989, didn’t play in the major leagues last year.

If completed, the contract likely would be worth about $500,000 if Sosa is placed on the 40-man roster. He would have the chance to earn additional performance bonuses.

Sosa returned home to the Dominican Republic after working out for the Rangers in Texas on Monday. It was his second workout for team officials, who previously went to the Dominican Republic to watch him.

Texas rookie manager Ron Washington was impressed by what he saw during Monday’s workout in an indoor batting cage. Washington said Sosa would primarily be a designated hitter if he makes the team, and bat in the middle of the order with Mark Teixeira, Michael Young and Hank Blalock.

“This is a guy that has had a lot of success playing the game, and someone who can help us offensively,” second baseman Ian Kinsler said Thursday. “He definitely wants to prove himself again. … We want him to be himself and swing hard, like he did in the past.”

Sosa last played for Baltimore in 2005, when the seven-time All-Star hit .221 with 14 homers and 45 RBIs in 102 games.

In his career with the Rangers (1989), Chicago White Sox (1989-91), Chicago Cubs (1992-2004) and Orioles, Sosa has batted .274 with 1,575 RBIs and has hit 60 home runs or more in a year three times.

Sosa was the NL MVP in 1998, when he batted .308 with a career-high 66 homers and 158 RBIs for the Cubs. That was the season he was in the home run chase with Mark McGwire, who became the first major leaguer to hit 70 homers.

AP-ES-01-18-07 1615EST

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