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Sammy Sosa's bat gets CAT scan

It won't make an episode of "CSI," but science did shed some light on how far someone went to enhance Sammy Sosa's famous corked bat.

The bat shattered in Sosa's hands on June 3, 2003, at Wrigley Field, revealing a corked center. Former Chicago Cubs pitcher Mike Remlinger grabbed it and kept it until
Grant DePorter, CEO of the Harry Caray's Restaurant Group, bought it at auction in 2010 for $16,567.

"I have a manager, Beth Heller, and her husband, Rich, is a radiologist," DePorter said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "It struck me, 'Why don't we put this thing through a CAT scan? Those show you so much more.'"

What the scan revealed was that an inch and a half down from the top a tube had been cut that went a foot into the bat and stopped where the handle tapered too much, the Sun-Times reported. Screw marks and the angular tip of where the drill stopped is visible in the scan.

Hard cork -- likely glued together -- is jammed inside, and a wood plug was inserted in the top. But the grain of the plug doesn't match the grain of the bat, according to the newspaper.

"I don't think it's the same wood," Dr. Rich Heller said, according to the newspaper. "I would say it's another piece that was carefully fitted in."

After assembly, the bat was varnished, painted black and Sosa's No. 21 was drawn on the top in silver marker.

"The detail is amazing," Heller said, according to the Sun-Times. "It's gorgeous."

Sosa claimed that it was a batting practice bat that he had mistakenly taken to the plate against the Rays that day in 2003. But the damage was done. Sosa's popularity in Chicago plummeted and his stats weren't far behind.

In 2003, he batted .279 with 40 homers and 103 RBIs. He hit only .253 with 35 home runs and 80 RBIs the next year before being dealt to the Orioles. After only 102 disappointing games that saw him hit .221 with 14 homers, he was out of baseball.

And on to Congressional hearings in 2005 where he claimed he never used performance-enhancing drugs. A 2009 New York Times report, however, said that he was on a list of players who tested positive for PEDs in 2003 -- the same year the corked bat burst onto the scene.