04/20/2003 4:10 PM ET
Good news for Sosa after rough day
Slugger shares NL Player of the Week award
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Sammy Sosa survived a scary moment and received good news Monday when he was named co-National League Player of the Week.
The Chicago Cubs slugger shared the honors with Colorado pitcher Shawn Chacon. Sosa's week ended with a jolt when he was struck in the head by a pitch from Pittsburgh's Salomon Torres in the Cubs' 8-2 loss, which halted a five-game winning streak.
Last week, Sosa batted .417 with four home runs and 14 RBIs to earn the Player of the Week honors for the 11th time in his career. He led the National League in home runs, RBIs, runs scored (10) and total bases (25) and compiled a staggering 1.042 slugging percentage and .548 on-base percentage.
He belted career homer No. 504 in the first inning Sunday off Pittsburgh's Josh Fogg to tie Eddie Murray for 17th on the all-time list.
But in the fourth, Sosa was plunked by a Torres fastball that cracked his batting helmet, sending pieces flying. He fell to his knees, glared at Torres and was then helped off the field by Cubs trainer Dave Tumbas.
"It was very frightening," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "The sound was unbelievable. That was probably one of the best helmet cracks I've ever seen or heard. I'm surprised that he was even conscious."
"The helmet saved me right there," Sosa said.
He was examined at PNC Park by two of the Pirates physicians, then taken to Allegheny General Hospital for a CAT scan, which came back "clear," Tumbas said. Sosa returned to Chicago with his teammates Sunday night.
"As you all saw, he was hit in the left side of the head," Tumbas said. "The ball cracked the helmet and the result of the cracked helmet was two or three small cuts, one on the ear and one in the scalp where the sideburns are. Those were cleaned, and those are fine."
Sosa didn't think it was a purpose pitch.
"It was a pitch that got away," Sosa said. "He was trying to pitch me in, and I was leaning in. I don't think he has anything against me."
Torres, who is from San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, which is also Sosa's hometown, was relieved that the slugger was OK.
"He's like a brother to me," Torres said. "He's an idol in the Dominican. I've known this guy for a long time. I'm glad that he's okay."
"I feel great," Sosa said after the game. "I feel much better. I didn't have a chance to get out of the way. At the beginning, I felt a little pain but I went to the doctor and everything's cool."
The Cubs had Monday off and Sosa was expected to play Tuesday night to open a three-game series against the San Diego Padres.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. George Von Benko contributed to this report. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.