BALTIMORE - Sammy Sosa came off the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, still angry that some people suspected he feigned a foot injury to miss the Baltimore Orioles' trip to Chicago earlier this month.
Sosa was sidelined since May 4 with a staph infection on the bottom of his left foot. He missed 16 games, including four on the road against the Chicago White Sox from May 12-15.
The outfielder played with the Chicago Cubs for 13 years before coming to Baltimore in a February trade. Sosa wore out his welcome in Chicago before being dealt away, but insisted that had he had every intention of returning - until the injury.
"I wanted to be there so bad," Sosa said. "It made me mad when people said I was faking not to go to Chicago, especially me, a guy who plays every day. But I was hurt. I was in a lot of pain."
Sosa played in all 27 of the Orioles' games, hitting.269 with four homers and 13 RBIs, before being injured. He received treatment in Baltimore while the Orioles faced the White Sox.
"People were talking (stuff), knowing nothing. They don't know I feel," Sosa said. "Why am I going to be hiding from Chicago? For what? That I'm scared? Never."
Sosa was made the Orioles' designated hitter Tuesday night against Seattle. First-place Baltimore was 18-9 with him and 9-7 during his absence.
"He's anxious to get going," Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli said.
To say the least.
"I feel great. I feel lucky to be back and not have to watch the games on TV anymore," Sosa said. "When you're a competitor you want to be in there, especially the way this team has been going. But when you're hurt, you're hurt."
To make room for Sosa on the roster, the Orioles designated catcher Sal Fasano for assignment. Fasano went 3-for-9 with two homers in four games since being recalled from Triple-A Ottawa on May 11.
"There's nobody at fault here," Fasano said. "Sammy's healthy, Sammy plays. He's hit 500-gazillion home runs, I only have a few."
Fasano has the option of becoming a free agent, but will return to Ottawa if not claimed off the waiver wire. His solid performance during his brief stint took some of the sting out of being sent back to the minors.
"I do take solace in the fact that I played well here," he said. "That's the only thing you can control."