Sosa not pursuing MLB job, says he intends to retire in 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Sammy Sosa, still without an offer to play in the major leagues, intends to retire from baseball after the next World Baseball Classic, according to published reports.

"It's part of the plan. It would be great if folks can see me for the last time wearing the uniform of the [Dominican Republic] National Team," Sosa told Hoy, a Dominican newspaper.

"It's always an honor to represent your country," added Sosa, whose motivation to play in the WBC increased once Felipe Alou, a fellow native Dominican, was named manager of the national club.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Sosa reiterated his retirement plans.

"That's my wish," he said during a telephone interview from Miami, "to put on my country's uniform so people can see me playing again.

"That doesn't mean I'm retiring. It's not time for that yet."

The second WBC, with 16 countries in the field, will begin play in March 2009. The Dominican Republic will play its first-round games in Puerto Rico.

Sosa did not play in the first edition of the WBC in 2006. That same year, the right fielder did not play in the majors after rejecting a contract offer from the Washington Nationals.

Sosa, 39, currently a free agent, had 21 home runs and 92 RBIs in 114 games last season with the Texas Rangers. Last June against the Cubs, his former team, Sosa became the fifth player in history to hit 600 home runs, following the path of Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Willie Mays (660).

"There's something that I wish to state very clearly: I'm not looking for a job. In fact, I have told my agent that he should stop offering my services to MLB teams," Sosa told Hoy. "I'm not retired. I remain highly focused and not begging for a contract."

Sosa is involved in charitable work and a variety of business interests in the Dominican. He travels extensively and is close friends with Dominican president Leonel Fernandez Reyna.

"Sammy's living his life,'' his agent, Adam Katz, told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. "He keeps himself very busy.''

Sosa, the National League MVP in 1998, is the only hitter to surpass 60 or more homers in a season three times.

Enrique Rojas covers Major League Baseball for ESPNDeportes.com.