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Last Updated: Friday, 6 June, 2003, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
Sosa banned over bat
Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs
Sosa admits he made a mistake
Sammy Sosa has been suspended for eight games after he was discovered using an illegal bat - but he plans to appeal.

The Chicago Cubs slugger was thrown out of a game against Tampa Bay on Tuesday for using a cork-filled bat.

Sosa, from the Dominican Republic, claimed the incident was a one-time, simple mistake caused by grabbing the wrong bat.

His appeal will be heard on Tuesday in Baltimore where the Cubs are starting a series.

The decision may not be made immediately allowing Sosa to play in Tuesday night's game.

FACTFILE: CORKED BATS
Bats with cork inserts hit balls slightly farther than solid wood ones and so are banned
Other players who used corked bats have been suspended for up to 10 games
Wilton Guerrero, the last player caught with a corked bat, was also banned for eight games

Sosa's misdemeanour came to light when the bat he used in the 3-2 win over the Devil Rays split in two, revealing cork inside.

He said after the game: "I use that bat for batting practice, not in the game.

"It is a mistake and I apologise to everyone, everyone who is embarrassed by this. I just picked the wrong bat heading to the plate."

Cork inside a wooden bat is against baseball rules and has resulted in several players being suspended in the past.

The suspension is just the latest blow for Sosa in a troubled season.

Despite the Cubs topping their division under new boss Dusty Baker, the 34-year-old has been plagued by injuries and poor form.

He reached 500 career home runs early in the season but has not hit one since 1 May and is batting just .285.

He is the only player in Major League history to have three 60-homer seasons - hitting 66 in 1998, 63 in 1999 and 64 in 2001.





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