Rumors about Sammy Sosa potentially returning to the Chicago Cubs in some capacity have been heating up since the team hired Manny Ramirez on May 25 to be player-coach of its Triple-A affiliate in Iowa.
This is a question which CSNChicago.com Cubs Insider Patrick Mooney tried to answer in his May 25 article:
"The cold war between the Cubs and Sammy Sosa continues while Manny Ramirez joins the organization as a player/coach at Triple-A Iowa.
"Ramirez has a personal connection to Theo Epstein after two World Series celebrations with the Boston Red Sox. Sosa doesn't have that kind of history with the Ricketts family or Epstein's front office and got snubbed when the Cubs celebrated their Wrigley Field centennial last month.
"'I don't know where things stand with Sammy right now,' Epstein said Sunday on a conference call. 'But I do know it was important to us that Manny has been very upfront about admitting his mistakes, that Manny was very cooperative with Major League Baseball, and that Manny is interested in making sure younger players don't make the same mistakes that he made.'
"The Cubs are estranged from Sosa, who doesn't have the same documented PED history as Ramirez, but also hasn't confronted the suspicions. A New York Times report in 2009 idenfitied Sosa as one of the 104 players who tested positive during the anonymous survey in 2003.
"Maybe Sosa can follow the Ramirez roadmap by making himself available to the media, telling his side of the story and repairing relationships inside baseball's Park Avenue headquarters in New York.
"They both had potential Hall of Fame resumes while alienating themselves from iconic franchises, leading to messy exits. Unlike Sosa, Ramirez has apparently made peace with his enemies and negotiated his own way back into the game.
"'Those are things that were important to us and made this worth doing,' Epstein said. 'I'm not sure where things stand with Sammy at the moment."
As Mooney mentioned, Sosa was not invited by the Cubs to Wrigley Field's 100th anniversary celebration a month ago. The team feels the once-revered slugger "owes them an apology," per an April 24 update from ESPN Desporte's Enrique Rojas.
"The Chicago Cubs feel like Sammy Sosa owes them an apology, and the former slugger told ESPNDesportes.com on Thursday that he is willing to sit down with the club to make amends.
"'I think there is something that has to be resolved,' Sosa told ESPN Desportes. 'If there is something to clarify, we will sit down and clear it up. Time has given me the maturity to reflect upon many things, including knowing that one side doesn't have to be right all the time.'
"Sosa was not invited to participate in Wednesday's festivities commemorating the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, where he hit 293 of his 609 home runs in 13 seasons, from 1992 to 2004, and posted three seasons of 60 or more home runs.
"Included among those three seasons is 1998 -- when both Sosa and Mark McGwire eclipsed Roger Maris' then-record of 61 home runs in a season.
"'I should have been there; I would have liked to be there,' Sosa said about the celebration. 'The Cubs know where to find me, and I hope to have the chance to clear up any misunderstanding.'
"Cubs spokesman Julian Green said Wednesday that Sosa had some work to do before being welcomed back by the organization.
"'There are some things that Sammy needs to look at and consider prior to having an engagement with the team,' Green said.
"Sources indicate one thing Sosa has to do is make amends with some former teammates for his actions at the end of his Cubs career.
"Sosa left the team on bad terms after sitting out the final game of the 2004 season and leaving the stadium before the game was over. He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles that winter."
The 45-year-old Sosa amassed 2,408 hits, 609 home runs and 1,667 RBIs on a .273 batting average in 18 MLB seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, Cubs and Orioles, per ESPN stats.