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Sosa hits second HR of spring

March 8th, 2007 4:51 am by Associated Press

Sammy Sosa is finding a groove in his comeback with the Texas Rangers.

Sosa homered for the second time in spring training, going 2-for-3 Wednesday in the Rangers' 9-8 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Surprise, Ariz.

The 38-year-old Sosa, who didn't play in the major leagues last season, hit a three-run homer that capped a six-run third off former World Series MVP Livan Hernandez.

"The more games I play, the better I feel," Sosa said. "The confidence is here, and I know I can hit. I believe in myself, and just keep working every day."

The Rangers signed Sosa, who is fifth on the career list with 588 homers, to a minor league contract. Since going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in a "B" game Friday, Sosa is 5-for-12 with two homers and four RBIs in four games.

Hernandez gave up nine runs - seven earned - and 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings. He struck out one and walked none.

"I never have a good spring," Hernandez said. "I'm just coming to get my work in and make sure I'm 100 percent for the season."

At Peoria, Ariz., Barry Bonds made a rare spring training trip and was in a jovial mood.

Bonds went 1-for-2 with a double and a strikeout in a San Francisco Giants split squad's 5-4 win over the Seattle Mariners.

He made the 45-minute trek across metropolitan Phoenix after missing three games because of a bad cold. He blew a kiss in the direction of the Mariners dugout before his first at-bat, then blooped his second pitch from Felix Hernandez to shallow left field.

As the ball landed between third baseman Mike Morse and left fielder Raul Ibanez, the 42-year-old Bonds kept running to second base. His popup slide easily beat Ibanez's throw, and seemed to surprise the Mariners and even his teammates.

"Yeah, that was a good looking run," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He feels great. He's happy with the way his legs are feeling."

It showed. After Bengie Molina lined out to end the first inning, Bonds exchanged a smile and a handshake with Hernandez when their paths crossed at the third-base line.

"How are you?" Bonds asked Hernandez.

"That's never happened to me before," the 20-year-old Hernandez said later, marveling.

In other games:

At Lakeland, Fla., Atlanta starter John Smoltz was hit on the chest by Curtis Granderson's drive in the third.

Smoltz, who caught the ball after it hit his chest, was on the ground for several minutes but stayed in the game and got the final out of the inning. Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said Smoltz was sore but shouldn't miss a start. Smoltz allowed three hits in three scoreless innings with a strikeout and no walks.

At Fort Myers, Fla., Chan Ho Park started for the Mets after getting his visa. Signed as a free agent on Feb. 9, Park rebounded from a one-run first inning and allowed just a single in his other two.

At Kissimmee, Fla., Roy Oswalt allowed four hits in three innings, throwing 43 of 60 pitches for strikes.

At Jupiter, Fla., Dontrelle Willis allowed one runner in three innings, giving up only a single in his second outing of spring training.

At Vero Beach, Fla., Los Angeles closer Takashi Saito made his spring training debut, pitching a scoreless fifth. Los Angeles starter Brad Penny gave up four runs, four singles and a walk in the first inning, then allowed Chris Duncan's two-run homer in the second.

At Clearwater, Fla., Brennan King, Pat Burrell and Wes Helms homered. Blue Jays starter Gustavo Chacin had his best outing of spring training, throwing three shutout innings.

At Fort Myers, Jason Bay, recovering from offseason surgery on his left knee, went 0-for-3 as the designated hitter in his first spring training appearance.

At St. Petersburg, Fla., non-roster invitee Luis Rivas had three hits, including a pair of doubles, and an RBI.

At Mesa, Ariz., Alfonso Soriano led off the bottom of the first with his first home run of spring training.

Carlos Zambrano struggled with his command over three innings, walking three, striking out three and hitting a batter. He allowed both of his runs in the second, when he hit Antonio Perez with a pitch to start the inning.

At Tempe, Ariz., Howie Kendrick tripled, doubled, drove in one run and scored another for the Angels.

At Tucson, Ariz., Byung-Hung Kim gave up four runs, four hits and four walks in 2 1-3 innings. Loser Josh Fogg allowed three runs and six hits, walking none.

At Phoenix, Tim Lincecum gave up three runs in two innings. San Francisco's Jason Ellison had his streak of consecutive plate appearances reaching base end at 10 after flying out in the seventh.

At Tucson, Jose Contreras allowed two runs and five hits over four innings, struck out six and walked one, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the first.

AP-CS-03-07-07 2151EST

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