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Sosa takes swings in batting cage

CHICAGO -- Sammy Sosa is not sure when he can return to the
Chicago Cubs after taking his first swings in the batting cage
Saturday since injuring his back while sneezing.

The Chicago Cubs' slugger is on the 15-day disabled list with a
sprained ligament in his lower back, an ailment brought on by two
violent sneezes May 16 in San Diego.

After working out before Saturday's game, Sosa said he is still
experiencing pain in his back at the end of his swing. He does not
have a definite timetable for his return and does not plan to rush.

"I don't know when I will come back," said Sosa, who is
batting .291 with 10 homers and 24 RBIs. He is on the DL for the
fifth time in his 16-year career.

"I don't want to go back here sooner and then be hurt again --
it's going to be bad. I rather wait and get ready with everything I
have and come back because this is a delicate situation," he said.

The Cubs were 6-10 in his absence entering Saturday's game
against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Sosa was on the DL last season after the nail on his right big
toe was removed, causing him to miss 18 games. He also was
suspended seven games for using a corked bat. The Cubs were 13-12
without him.

Sosa also doesn't plan on going on a rehab assignment.

"Minor league or major league doesn't have nothing to do with
me. I just want to be ready first," Sosa said. "Forget about
minor league, I don't care about that, I don't need to go nowhere.
I just have to get ready and take care of business, like always."

The Cubs already had put nine players on the disabled list
including Sosa, Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. The team record for DL
trips in one season is 16 in 1970.

Prior returned from the disabled list on Friday and allowed just
two hits, striking out eight and getting a no-decision as
Pittsburgh beat the Cubs 2-1.

Wood threw long toss before Saturday's game and said he is
progressing.