Who in the Cubs organization wants to handle the hot potato known as Sammy Sosa? That question may be left to the business side, and one official said Tuesday the door is not shut on a possible Sosa return in some capacity.
Over the weekend, the Cubs' baseball-operations department announced it had hired Manny Ramirez to be a player-coach for the team's Class AAA farm club in Iowa. Ramirez was suspended twice as a player for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy.
For the last several years, the Cubs have shunned Sosa, who hit 545 of his 609 career home runs with the Cubs and became a fan favorite. Although Sosa's name has been linked to the use of banned performance-enhancing drugs, he was never suspended for failing a drug test.
Sosa did get suspended for corking his bat in 2003. On the final day of the 2004 season, he left the ballpark early, prompting his trade from the club during the ensuing off-season.
Although Sosa doesn't seem to be seeking a coaching job, he has expressed a willingness to reconcile with the Cubs.
"The Cubs have a great deal of respect for what Sammy accomplished while with the team," said Julian Green, the team's vice president of communications/community relations. "As Tom (team chairman Ricketts) stated, certainly there are some things that Sammy needs to do prior to having engagement with the team, but there's no move on the organization's part to keep him away. I think Tom's also said that.
"It's been well-documented that Sosa has also acknowledged that he'd like to be a part of our team. I think that will be something we'll be taking a look at. He even acknowledged that if there are some things that he could do over, he would. Those comments obviously have opened the door to starting a dialogue."
One way to ease Sosa back in might be to allow him to be introduced at the team's annual fan convention in January.