Notes: Sosa OK for Friday's game
Outfielder gets clean bill of health after beaning on Thursday
ARLINGTON -- Sammy Sosa was back in the cleanup spot of the Rangers' batting order on Friday, less than 20 hours after a hospital visit following his beaning by New York Yankees relief pitcher Brian Bruney.
"I just got hit, I didn't get shot," Sosa said.
That Sosa was ready to play one day after taking the pitch off his helmet was no great surprise. Manager Ron Washington said on Thursday that Sosa had wanted to remain in the game after the incident, which took place in the sixth inning of the doubleheader nightcap. Washington and trainer Jamie Reed overruled him and sent Sosa to Medical Center of Arlington for evaluation.
"That was a great decision by Washington," Sosa said, "because when that happens, you want to make sure that I'm out of the game and the trainer is taking care of me and the doctors see what's going on."
But Sosa emerged without a bump or contusion, spared perhaps because the fastball appeared to glance off the top of his left shoulder just before hitting his batting helmet. As a result, he wasn't scared to play in Friday's series opener against Toronto.
"Since he's not feeling too bad, he wants to get back in the fire," Washington said.
Sosa survived an even scarier beaning on April 20, 2003. Pittsburgh's Salomon Torres, like Sosa, a native of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, shattered the slugger's batting helmet with a fourth-inning fastball. Sosa, then with the Chicago Cubs, was evaluated at a hospital but returned unhurt to the ballpark before the game had ended.
Sosa was in no mood to relive that incident or compare it to Thursday's, however.
"[Forget] that," he said as soon as Torres' name was mentioned. "I don't want to hear that [stuff]. It's over. I got hit, that's it. I'm alive, I'm OK, I'm playing today, that's all. End of conversation."
No retaliation warranted? After Sosa was hit, some wondered whether a Rangers pitcher would retaliate against one of the Yankees' top sluggers. But Robinson Tejeda, Frank Francisco, C.J. Wilson and Akinori Otsuka finished the final three innings on Thursday without hitting a batter. Washington said he was fine with that.
"If I feel somebody did something like [beaning Sosa] on purpose, I'd say something," he said. "But I thought the ball just got away."
Gagne throws again: Closer Eric Gagne threw about 35 pitches from the mound in a simulated game against backup catcher Chris Stewart, and again declared himself pain-free and on target to be activated from the disabled list when eligible next Tuesday in New York.
Gagne, who suffered a strained right gluteus on April 23, disagreed with general manager Jon Daniels, who earlier said he was leaning toward sending Gagne to a Minor League rehab assignment to make sure the pitcher is both healthy and sharp.
"I know I don't need it," Gagne said. "I can get some more treatments, throw another bullpen on Sunday and be active in New York."
Washington, however, said: "We haven't formed a plan yet. That was Eric's idea, and that's all it is."
Cordero honored: Former Rangers closer Francisco Cordero, acquired last July by Milwaukee and ex-Rangers GM Doug Melvin, was named winner of the "DHL Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month" award for outstanding relief pitching in April.
Cordero went 10-for-10 in save conversions last month, tying him with Arizona's Jose Valverde for most saves in the Major Leagues. Cordero has not allowed an earned run in 12 games while striking out 19 in 11.1 innings and only surrendering two hits for the NL Central-leading Brewers (18-10).
Last year, Cordero was 3-2 with an 11.46 ERA and converted just 3-of-8 save chances for the Rangers in April. After Cordero ended the month with his Major League-leading fifth blown save and a .333 opponents' batting average, former Rangers manager Buck Showalter stripped him of the closer role and passed it to Otsuka.
Thursday's Minor stars: The top three performances from the Rangers' Minor League teams on Thursday:
Gold: Double-A Frisco infielder Casey Benjamin went 3-for-3 with three RBIs in a 10-1 rout of San Antonio. Benjamin had a single, triple and a three-run homer, falling a double short of hitting for the cycle.
Silver: Broc Coffman pitched six shutout innings and improved to 2-0 in Class A Clinton's 5-1 victory over Cedar Rapids.
Bronze: Travis Metcalf was 2-for-3 with a double, home run and three RBIs in Frisco's thrashing of San Antonio.
He said it: "Just the standard one from Mom and Dad" -- Utility man Matt Kata, on whether he received many phone calls after becoming the first Rangers player in nearly 27 years to record two outfield assists in the same inning
Briefly: Texas Tech basketball coach Bobby Knight was a pregame visitor on Friday, spending time on the field with Washington and bench coach Art Howe during batting practice. ... Sosa's fifth-inning double in the opener of Thursday's doubleheader was the 1,000th extra-base hit of his career. ... The first 20,000 fans through the gates Saturday will receive free Cinco de Mayo T-shirts, courtesy of Texas Chevy Dealers. And on Sunday, the first 10,000 fans ages 13 and under will receive a free ticket to Hurricane Harbor. ... Former Rangers starter Edinson Volquez continues to struggle at Class A Bakersfield. He gave up three runs in five innings in Thursday's loss to High Desert, and is now 0-3 with an 8.26 ERA.
Up next: Rangers RHP Vicente Padilla (0-4, 5.66) faces a tough customer in Toronto's Roy Halladay (4-0, 2.28), in the second game of this three-game series. First pitch Saturday is set for 7:05 p.m. CT at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Ken Daley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.