Sosa news doesn't shock players

CHICAGO --- Lance Berkman played against Sammy Sosa, watching him bang balls all over the park. When the Houston star heard the latest news about Slammin' Sammy, it barely made a dent.


Sosa tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in 2003, The New York Times reported Tuesday on its Web site.

"That's not that surprising at all," Berkman said. "There are just certain guys that you pretty much know without coming out and making an out-and-out accusation, but it does not surprise me, not even a little bit."

At Wrigley Field, where Sosa hit many of his 609 home runs, Cubs slugger Derrek Lee said he never saw his former teammate take any banned substances.

Lee couldn't avoid hearing the rumors that surrounded Sosa. Still, he was disappointed.

"I like to believe people are innocent until proven guilty, but now it sounds like he's proven," he said.

Sosa played his final year with the Cubs in 2004. Lee came to Chicago in a trade from Florida before that season, and he used to dismiss the speculation because "there was nothing ever that'd stick, so I mean, what are you going to do?"

The Times, citing lawyers familiar with the case, reported that Sosa is one of 104 players who tested positive in a 2003 baseball survey. As names on that list continue to trickle out, calls to release it are growing louder even though the tests were supposed to be confidential.

"I think it's unfair when a list that was supposed to be confidential, now names start coming out one at a time, two at a time, for Sammy," said Don Baylor, the Rockies' hitting coach and Sosa's former manager with the Cubs. "He is completely out of the game.

"There are 102 or so other players wondering if their names are going to be called. It really doesn't serve a purpose right now."

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, Sosa's teammate in the late 1980s and early 1990s, is among those who want the list released.

"Get it over with," he said. "Get those names out there. Whoever is guilty is guilty. Whoever is clean is clean. And then baseball can deal with that once and that's it. Every month, we've got to talk about somebody. It's not a good thing."

White Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik said everyone should be past the point of being surprised when a player is linked to steroid use.

"I'm really surprised by how people are so shocked when some other one's name pops up," he said. "It's not surprising. It's not that shocking. It is what it is. That was part of those times."

Los Angeles Dodgers star Manny Ramirez is serving a 50-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy, and New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez admitted he used steroids from 2001-03 with Texas.

"As far as being surprised, I was surprised with Manny. And after that, I mean, how can you be surprised anymore?" Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.

"There are a lot of players on teams today that have been lumped in with everybody else, just because they hit a ball out of the ballpark. And the players are going to have to live through that," he said.

"Nothing surprises me anymore," injured Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez said. "Everybody talked about it, but I played with him for two years here and I never saw him do anything wrong."



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