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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS / NATIONAL LEAGUE | ATLANTA BRAVES
VS. CHICAGO CUBS REPORT : NOTES

Sosa Comes Through for Devastated Country With Hurricane Relief

October 02, 1998|JASON REID

Sammy Sosa hit 66 home runs and led the Chicago Cubs to the playoffs for the first time since 1989.

The all-star outfielder also led the major leagues in runs batted in, and he is expected to be selected the National League most valuable player. But Sosa said none of his accomplishments have mattered as much as what he's doing for the impoverished people in his native Dominican Republic.

The Sammy Sosa Foundation is providing humanitarian relief for the tiny Caribbean island nation that has been devastated by Hurricane Georges. Sosa said the foundation is scheduled to send 80,000 pounds of food and water to the Dominican Republic today.

Many major leaguers have contributed to the foundation, and United Parcel Service donated the use of a plane for the airlift. Sosa spoke emotionally about his foundation's work Thursday.

"This is something that is very important, something that I need to do for my country," Sosa said. "It's a very tough situation back home, many people have lost their homes, and many people are hungry.

"The children don't have enough food and water, and they're scared because of everything that happened. We're doing this to help."

More than 60,000 pounds of rice and beans, and 20,000 pounds of bottled water, will be flown from Miami to Santo Domingo. The estimated damage in the Caribbean from Hurricane Georges exceeds $2 billion.

"It's not about the home-run race anymore--it's about human beings," Sosa said. "I have a chance to help people, and that's what I'm going to do."

*

The Cubs announced that rookie pitcher Kerry Wood will start Game 3 of the series at Wrigley Field on Saturday.

The hard-throwing Wood has been sidelined since Aug. 31 because of a strained ligament in his throwing elbow. There is concern that Wood might be risking a career-threatening injury by pitching again this season.

"There is always a risk of a pitcher going out there and getting hurt, but the risk [with Wood at this time] is negligible," Manager Jim Riggleman said of Wood, expected to be selected the National League rookie of the year. "Can he go out there and be successful and get it done? I think he can."

Wood won't be on a pitch count, Riggleman said. His performance, and mechanics, will determine how long he pitches.

Pitching coach Phil Regan will watch Wood closely. If Regan notices problems in Wood's delivery, which might further hurt his elbow, the right-hander's work will end.

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