Sammy Sosa, who has not played in the Majors since 2007, reportedly plans to officially announce his retirement soon and expects to hear from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the future.
A story published by ESPNdeportes.com on Wednesday reported that Sosa, interviewed while appearing at a government-sponsored event in the Dominican Republic, said he does not intend to allow his career achievements to be clouded with suspicions of steroid use.
"Everything I achieved, I did it thanks to my perseverance, which is why I never had any long, difficult moments [as a baseball player]. If you have a bad day in baseball, and start thinking about it, you will have 10 more," Sosa said in his first public comments in months.
"I will calmly wait for my induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Don't I have the numbers to be inducted?"
Sosa, currently a Special Ambassador For Investment Opportunities for the Dominican Republic government, is one of just six players in baseball history to surpass the 600-homer mark, finishing with 609 after reaching the milestone with the Rangers in 2007. Playing most of his career with the Cubs, he is the only player to hit 60 or more homers in three seasons -- 66 in 1998, 63 in '99 and 64 in 2001.
The ESPNdeportes.com report said that Sosa appeared at a government-sponsored event and that he would not address allegations of steroid use.
"I always played with love and responsibility, and I assure you that I will not answer nor listen to rumors," Sosa said. "If anything ugly comes up in the future, we will confront it immediately, but with all our strength, because I will not allow anybody to tarnish what I did in the field."
Other Sosa quotes from the same report:
On Latin American sluggers: "The scandal on steroids and all those suspensions will not overshadow the game. Currently, there are many Latino players performing well [offensively]. There's [Albert] Pujols, Carlos Pena; Nelson Cruz has 15. Then what? There's someone else that already has 22 home runs [Adrian Gonzalez] ... we have hit and will continue to hit homers in the Major Leagues."
On Manny Ramirez, currently suspended for 50 games for performance-enhancing drug use: "Manny's case has been truly hurtful. It hit me, but now it's time for Manny to get back on his feet and face the consequences of his actions."
On David Ortiz, the slumping Red Sox slugger from the D.R.: "He has to focus, but above everything, be patient and believe in himself so that he gets his confidence back. As a fellow Dominican, I have been very worried about David."
On Pedro Martinez, the former Cy Young Award winner still unsigned: "It's weird that he didn't get a good offer after the way he pitched at the [World Baseball Classic]. He received some offers, but not what he deserved, and Pedro has some baseball still left in his arm."
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, The Grind. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.