Sammy Sosa underwent an MRI on Tuesday. (Denis Poroy/AP)
CHICAGO -- Now this is really nothing to sneeze at.
Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa was expected to be placed on the disabled list Wednesday because of a sprained ligament in his lower back, which he suffered when he sneezed.
Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said an MRI revealed the injury Tuesday night. Sosa was to receive an epidural to calm down the inflammation, Hendry said.
"We're pretty certain he'll miss a couple weeks," Hendry said. "It'll be five to seven days before he can begin strenuous activity."
Sosa suffered the spasms Sunday before the Cubs' game in San Diego after he sneezed twice. He doubled over in pain, then went to the trainer's room for treatment. Sosa did not play Sunday but did not come in for treatment on Monday's off-day.
"You can't play with a bad back until he's ready," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.
As odd as the injury may seem, Hendry said he could relate. He experienced severe back spasms when he pulled his golf clubs out of the trunk of his car.
Sammy Sosa / RF
Weight: 220 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
Sosa was examined Tuesday by Dr. Michael Schafer, the team's orthopedic specialist. The right fielder went to the doctor because he was still experiencing some discomfort, Hendry said.
Sosa has had some minor back problems in the past.
"He's the least likely guy to get treatment," Hendry said.
Sosa was batting .291 with 10 home runs and 24 RBIs in 35 games. Todd Hollandsworth started in right field for Sosa on Tuesday against the San Francisco Giants.
Hendry said he will discuss the corresponding roster move with Baker after Tuesday's game. Among the candidates who could be called up from Triple-A Iowa are David Kelton and Jason Dubois.
The Cubs will just have to grin and bear it. Sosa joins a long list of players on the DL, including Mark Prior, Mark Grudzielanek, Alex Gonzalez and Mike Remlinger.
"Dusty has a knack of putting the right guys in who perform well," Hendry said. "You just have to dwell on the positives."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.