Major League Baseball has reduced Chicago Cub's outfielder Sammy Sosa's suspension from eight games to seven, after he used an illegal corked bat in a game last week against Tampa Bay.
Baseball's Chief Operating Officer, Bob DuPuy, who heard Sosa's appeal Tuesday, says the suspension takes effect immediately.
That means Sosa will not be available beginning with the second game of the Cubs' inter-league series Wednesday [7pm EDT] in Baltimore against the Orioles.
"He is the main man, and we know we can get by for a period of time," said Cubs second baseman Mark Grudzielanek, who said losing Sammy will hurt. "But when you miss a guy like that and that kind of bat in your lineup, you are going to miss him and eventually it will catch up with you," he added.
Cubs manager Dusty Baker said the Cubs will do their best without Sosa, who had recently returned from the disabled list prior to the corking incident.
"We have been without Sammy already," he said. "You know, we were without Sammy for three weeks almost. So we have an idea how to be without Sammy. It is not like this is the first time. Somebody else just has to pick it up. Somebody else just has to carry a little more weight."
Sosa said he accidentally picked up the corked bat, which he uses for batting practices and exhibitions. The Cubs' outfielder, the only player ever to hit 60 or more home runs in a season three times, immediately apologized to fans and his teammates.
DuPuy said he appreciated Sosa's candor and the promptness of his apology, but said that each player is responsible to make sure he is using equipment that complies with the rules.
He added that suspensions during the past 20 years for the use of an illegal bat have ranged from seven to 10 games. DuPuy said given the circumstances of this case, he felt that the lower end of the range was the most appropriate.
Baseball officials confiscated 76 of Sosa's bats from the Cub clubhouse after the corking incident, and five of his bats from the Baseball Hall of Fame were also checked. None of the bats revealed any evidence of tampering.