Sosa’s deal with Rangers to be announced Tuesday


FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Sammy Sosa and the Texas Rangers wrapped up weeks of negotiations and agreed to a minor league contract that was to be announced Tuesday.

The 38-year-old Sosa is fifth on the career list with 588 home runs, but hasn’t played in the major leagues since 2005. He will have to go to spring training and earn his spot on the roster with the Rangers, the team he began his career with in 1989.

Sosa wasn’t scheduled to attend the news conference, but was expected to address the media by telephone.

He returned home to the Dominican Republic after his second workout for the Rangers, two weeks ago in Texas. Sosa also worked out for Texas in the Dominican Republic this month.

If Sosa is placed on the Rangers’ 40-man roster, his contract likely will have a base salary of about $500,000. He would have the chance to earn additional performance bonuses.

Texas rookie manager Ron Washington has said Sosa would be primarily a designated hitter if he makes the team, but would still play a few games in the outfield. He could bat fifth in the Rangers’ lineup behind switch-hitting slugger Mark Teixeira and All-Star shortstop Michael Young.

“If we give him an opportunity to come into camp and he performs like a winner, I don’t think (anybody) can complain about that, and I’m certainly not,” Washington said after watching Sosa’s workout in Texas. “If it works, we look good, and I’m willing to take the chance on that it will work.”

Sosa last played for the Baltimore Orioles in 2005, when the seven-time All-Star hit .221 with 14 homers and 45 RBIs in 102 games. During spring training that year, Sosa was one of several players who testified before a congressional committee looking into steroid use in professional baseball.

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.

Sosa’s major league debut came with Texas in 1989, when he hit .238 with one homer in only 25 games before being traded to the White Sox. The Rangers signed Sosa at age 16 in July 1985, and his first minor league manager was Rudy Jaramillo, now the team’s hitting coach.

“He’s going to have to prove himself day in and day out. He’s going to have to win his teammates’ respect,” Jaramillo said. “His talent, his ability has to be there. It’s there. It’s now him going and proving it in spring training.”