Sosa works out for Rangers

Sosa works out for Rangers

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' offseason took a surprising twist on Monday when they worked out free-agent outfielder Sammy Sosa at Ameriquest Field in Arlington.

Sosa also met with general manager Jon Daniels over dinner on Monday night to discuss a one-year, non-roster contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

"Sammy has relationships with several people in the organization dating back to the '80s, including [hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo] and some of our scouts in the Dominican, which have allowed us a little insight into what he's been up to," Daniels said.

"The workouts and subsequent conversations have been positive. He seems committed to proving himself again -- made it clear he wants to contribute to a winning environment. We had good baseball discussion about our club, where he's at in his career, and whether there's a fit."

The Rangers also came to terms with pitcher Joaquin Benoit on a one-year contract worth $1.05 million on Monday. That leaves them with pitchers Akinori Otsuka and Rick Bauer, and outfielder Brad Wilkerson as their unsigned arbitration cases.

Sosa, who turned 38 in November, did not play in 2006. His last action was in 2005 with the Baltimore Orioles, when he hit .221 with 14 home runs and 45 RBIs in 102 games and 380 at-bats. He also finished with a .376 slugging percentage, down from a .517 percentage in 2004.

In an interview with ESPN's Outside the Lines in December, Sosa said, "I'm only 38 years old. ... I'm an exciting player, and I'm looking for a chance, and if I get that chance, you never know. I might hit you 40 or 50 [home runs], you never know."

He began working out in December in the Dominican Republic and told the Associated Press, "I feel like I did when I was a rookie. I have a lot of spirit and a desire to return. I think I can play three or four more years in the form I am now."

Sosa had one offer to play last year but turned down a $500,000 non-guaranteed contract from the Washington Nationals.

Sosa said he would accept a similar offer this time around, "because I want to get back to the Majors."

The Rangers have been looking for one more bat for their lineup, presumably a right-handed hitting outfielder/designated hitter.

Sosa was one of several prominent athletes who was asked to testify in front of Congress on March 17, 2005, about steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. During his testimony, he denied ever using steroids or other performance enhancing drugs.

Sosa started his career with the Rangers. They signed him as a free agent in 1985, and he played in 25 games for them in 1989 before being traded along with pitcher Wilson Alvarez and infielder Scott Fletcher to the Chicago White Sox on July 29 for outfielder Harold Baines and infielder Fred Manrique.

It remains one of the most famous trades in club history and one of the most regrettable. Sosa spent three seasons with the White Sox and then was traded to the Chicago Cubs, where he enjoyed astounding success.

That success reached an apex in 1998 when Sosa joined Mark McGwire in challenging Roger Maris' single-season home run record. McGwire eventually ended up with the record with 70 home runs, but Sosa still hit .308 with 66 home runs and 158 RBIs to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award.

Sosa hit 243 home runs between 1998-2001. He also led the National League with 49 in 2002, then slipped to 40 in 2003 and 35 in 2004. It was after that season that the Cubs traded him to the Baltimore Orioles for three players, including infielder Jerry Hairston Jr.

Sosa went on the disabled list twice in 2005, once for a staph infection in his left foot and again for a lesion on his right toe that forced him to miss the final month of the season.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.