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Sosa Makes Appeal on 8 Game Suspension - 2003-06-11

Major League Baseball officials in Baltimore have heard Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa's appeal of his eight-game suspension for using a corked bat in a game last week. The Cubs are in Baltimore for a three game inter-league series against the Orioles. Sosa was in the lineup for Tuesday night's opening game.

Baseball officials heard Sosa's appeal on Tuesday, but afterward refused to say when they would hand down their decision. The appeal allows Sosa to continue playing until a ruling is made.

He was ejected from the June Third game against Tampa Bay when his bat shattered after hitting a ground ball and umpires discovered that cork was in the center of the bat. Cork-centered bats can be used to make batted balls fly farther than they would.

Tests on 76 bats taken from Sosa's locker and five more of his bats from the Hall of Fame found no foreign substances. Sosa claims he mistakenly grabbed a bat he uses for batting practice and used it in the game.

Before Tuesday's game, Sosa issued a statement. "I had my hearing today and I'm just waiting for the decision that they are going to make. Whatever punishment they are going to do, I accept it," he said. "It's been a tough week for me. Once again, I just want to apologize to everyone out there for the mistake that I made and I wanted to say "thank you" to all of the fans and everybody who supports me and motivates me to continue."

Baseball officials are expected to hand down their decision in the next few days.