Rickey Henderson is ready to run again.
Baseball's career leader in runs and stolen bases will play in the new independent Golden Baseball League this season, agreeing on Monday to join the San Diego Surf Dawgs.
The 46-year-old Henderson started the last two years with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League. He finished 2003 with the Dodgers, playing in 30 games.
"He still hopes to play in the majors," agent Jeff Borris said. "He still feels that he can be competitive."
In the first year of toughened steroid testing, home runs are down in the major leagues for the first time since 2002.
An average of 1.97 home runs were hit in games through Sunday, down 8.8% from the 2.16 average in the first five weeks of last season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It's the lowest level for the first five weeks since 2002's 1.93 average and below the 2.14 average of the last decade.
"I think five weeks is too short a statistical sample to draw any conclusions," said Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer.
Sammy Sosa missed a fourth straight start Monday night with an abscess on his left foot, and now the Baltimore Orioles aren't sure when they'll get him back in the lineup.
"It's not responding the way you'd think it should be," Oriole Manager Lee Mazzilli said of the injury. "It's a day-to-day thing. We'll see how it is tomorrow."
Ryan Dempster is replacing LaTroy Hawkins as the Chicago Cubs' closer.
Dempster warmed up in the ninth inning of Carlos Zambrano's five-hit, 2-1 win over Philadelphia on Sunday, and Cub Manager Dusty Baker said Dempster was taking over from the struggling Hawkins.
"He's our closer until [Joe] Borowski gets back," Baker said. "Then we'll make a decision."
Toronto catcher Gregg Zaun will miss at least two weeks after sustaining a concussion while breaking up a double play against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.... San Diego shortstop Khalil Greene was activated from the 15-day disabled list and the team put right-hander Tim Redding on the DL.... Cincinnati put outfielder Wily Mo Pena and reliever Ben Weber on the 15-day disabled list and recalled right-hander Todd Coffey and infielder William Bergolla from triple-A Louisville.... St. Louis recalled catcher Mike Mahoney from triple-A Memphis and sent reliever Bill Pulsipher outright to Memphis.... Pittsburgh first baseman Craig Wilson will undergo surgery on his injured left finger and is expected to be sidelined about two months.... Texas reliever Carlos Almanzar is scheduled to have ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow Friday and will sit out the rest of the season.