Infection could keep Sosa out for a month
Serious foot problem under control, Orioles say
By Dan Connolly
Originally published May 12, 2005, 10:49 PM EDT
Orioles slugger Sammy Sosa has a "serious and significant" staph infection on the bottom of his left foot, but the antibiotics he is taking are working and team doctors believe the problem is under control.
Still, Sosa, who was placed on the disabled list Tuesday and hasn't played since May 5, could be out as long as a month, according to team physician William Goldiner.
"We are very sure we've got him on the right antibiotics, and we are very sure he is improving," Goldiner said. "When he is going to get back is a little more nebulous. But the estimate is two to four weeks."
Sosa will be examined again Friday by team doctors, and the front office is waiting for an update before determining Sosa's return.
"We'll wait and see [Friday]. They'll get a better look at it now after a couple days," team executive vice president Jim Beattie said. "Because of the infection, there is a whole range that could happen. So we're waiting."
The problem, Goldiner said, is the infection and open sore is in a weight-bearing area in the middle of his foot. So even after the bacteria is killed, Sosa will have to wait for the wound to heal completely before he'll be able to run full speed.
Because the disabled-list move was retroactive to May 5, Sosa would be eligible to play next weekend against the Philadelphia Phillies when the team returns from a seven-game road trip. Now that seems premature.
"It has to be fully healed or pretty darn close because of where it is," Goldiner said. "How can you ask a guy to run out to the outfield when he has bandages on the bottom of his foot?"
This is the first time Sosa has had this injury, so there is no precedent for how long it will take him to return to strength.
"Once you find out it is a staph infection, it is in the doctors' hands," said Ed Kenney, team director of baseball administration. "It's not a normal baseball injury that you can predict like a hamstring."
Sosa originally had complained about foot soreness earlier last week, and last Friday had an abscess drained. It was lanced and drained again on Monday, when doctors determined he had an MRSA staph infection, or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, which is resistant to myriad drugs, including the primary treatment of methicillin. However, Goldiner said the first batch of antibiotics prescribed to Sosa "were sensitive" or worked both in vitro and in Sosa's body.
In some cases, the untreated infection could spread within the bloodstream, bones or to organs, but Goldiner said that has not happened with Sosa.
"In this particular case, we think we have it under control," Goldiner said. "But that doesn't mean it doesn't have to be watched closely."
Unless Sosa has a very deep infection, the disease is not likely to leave an empty space, like a crater, once he recovers. Also, it's not likely to affect his nerves or put him in constant pain while healing, according to Dr. Charles Haile, an infectious diseases specialist at St. Joseph Medical Center.
"Nerve damage is not common in these types of cases, unless it's in a very vital area [of nerves] like the spine," said Haile, who sees cases of staph skin infections on a weekly basis.
A small percentage of infected patients get recurring infections elsewhere in the body even after recovery. "They may not be infected, but the bacteria organism remains colonized on their body and resurfaces in an area of trauma like an abrasion or cut," Haile said.
Sosa has been away from the team and recovering at his Baltimore residence since Saturday. Although the bacteria has been known to spread to others, especially among those in close quarters such as locker rooms and clubhouses, the Orioles don't believe any of their other players or organization members have contracted the infection.
"He is the only individual with this," Goldiner said. "It is a singular infection, not an outbreak."
The 36-year-old right fielder had played in the Orioles' first 27 games before last week. He was batting .269 with four homers and 13 RBIs in 27 games.
Because of the staph infection, Sosa missed this week's trip to Chicago to play the first-place White Sox. Sosa spent most of his career in Chicago, playing primarily for the Cubs, who traded him this offseason to Baltimore.
http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/base ... -headlines
Sosa Could Be Sidelined for a Month With Foot Injury
By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 13, 2005; Page D04
CHICAGO, May 12 -- The Baltimore Orioles' team physician says right fielder Sammy Sosa could be out for a month with a staph infection on the bottom of his left foot, multiple media outlets were reporting Thursday night.
Team doctor William Goldiner told the Associated Press the infection was "serious and significant." But he said the antibiotics Sosa is taking are working, and team doctors believe the problem is under control.
Sosa was scheduled to be examined by team doctors Friday, and the front office is waiting for an update before determining Sosa's return.
Deal for Cameron Unlikely
The Orioles' solution in center field likely won't be New York Mets outfielder Mike Cameron, at least not for the time being.
Several baseball sources said the Mets aren't interested in trading Cameron because it would mean making rookie Victor Diaz their starting right fielder and the team is unwilling to remove a proven bat from the lineup.
One source close to the Mets said the team won't even consider a straight-up trade of Jorge Julio for Cameron, even though New York needs relief pitching. . . .
Count Rodrigo Lopez and Miguel Tejada as two Orioles who are more than willing to participate in the recently announced World Baseball Classic.
"It think it's something good for the game," said Lopez, a native of Mexico. "It's not of the magnitude of the soccer World Cup, but it's the beginning of something important."
Tejada thinks the tournament could help baseball's popularity worldwide.
"To me it would be an honor to represent my country," said Tejada, a native of the Dominican Republic. "I compete in the Caribbean World Series, but this is something more exciting."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 01989.html
Oz: Cubs miss Sosa's energy
May 13, 2005
BY BRIAN HANLEY Staff Reporter Advertisement
Given the testimonial Ozzie Guillen made in his absence Thursday, Sammy Sosa may want the Sox manager to be his keynote speaker when the former Cubs slugger is inducted into the Hall of Fame.
"He's a tremendous ballplayer,'' Guillen said of Sosa, who is missing this series because of an abscess and staph infection on his left foot. "Sammy did a lot of nice stuff for the city, and the bad part about it is that people remember Sammy just because he made two mistakes.''
Sosa was suspended for having a corked bat, and he left the last game of last season early without permission.
"Nobody remembers how good he was for the city and for baseball,'' Guillen said. "Sammy Sosa did a tremendous job to put the city of Chicago on the top of the world. I don't know about the fans, but I think the media [was wrong] because somebody makes two mistakes and all of a sudden they take advantage of them and just wipe him out. He's a human being. I think Sammy can be one of the biggest reasons the Chicago Cubs have a lot of fans. Sammy Sosa did one thing that not many people could do -- he brought fans back to baseball. He and Mark [McGwire]. And people forgot about that.''
Sox slugger Frank Thomas also stood up for his former teammate.
"Sammy brought so much excitement to this town, I think it was bad the way he was let go out of here because the guy has done a lot for the Cubs,'' Thomas said. "That energy is definitely missing over there, I don't care what people say. He brought that crowd to their feet every day. Sammy is missed. Maybe some people say he's not, but he's missed. He always brought excitement and enjoyment to the game.
"I played with him and I know he really cares about the game. It's one of those things where I wished he came back this weekend because I wanted to see what it was going to be like. But he's not here, so we have to move on.''
Other Sox players, who have no history with Sosa, seemed to shrug off his absence.
"Watching the media react is kind of amusing: 'Oh no, there's no Sammy,''' Sox third baseman Joe Crede said. "So what, we're not playing Sammy, we're playing Baltimore. I'm sure the fans probably wanted to see him, but I don't think any of us could care less.''
Given the fact that there was a larger-than-average crowd of 29,031 at the Cell, it was obvious many fans did care about what was to be Sosa's first return to Chicago.
"You're coming to see a Hall of Fame player,'' Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli said. "I would be disappointed if I brought my kids to watch him play.''
Mazzilli also dismissed speculation that Sosa did not want to come to Chicago, where Thursday's larger-than-normal media presence awaited him.
"That's something that doesn't even need to be addressed,'' Mazzilli said. "When someone has a staph infection, I don't think you'd want any member of your family to have one. So to even think of that is absurd, absolutely absurd.
"Sammy is a big part of this team, and he wants to be very much a part of this right now. Absolutely, he's disappointed.''
As for Guillen, the Sox skipper believes time will heal the rift between Sosa and the Cubs.
"They'll have a Sammy Sosa Day, they're going to retire his number,'' Guillen said. "They're going to give him a car, hopefully they do it when he's not dead. So he can enjoy that. Sammy Sosa is going to be a Cub for the rest of his life, even when he's playing with another team.''