When Sammy Sosa stepped to the plate, he looked out to see Cubs starter Jason Marquis wearing the slugger's old No. 21.
This was definitely not an average spring day for Sosa in his return with the Texas Rangers after a year away from the game.
Sosa got a mixed greeting Wednesday from a large crowd of 11,674 at HoHoKam Park, where he spent so many spring afternoons during his 13 seasons with the Cubs.
"You know, regardless, no matter where I play, my heart is always going to be in Chicago," Sosa said.
"I don't think anyone's going to take my name away from Chicago. ... My name is always going to mentioned in Chicago."
Sosa went 1-for-3 in his return to Mesa, Ariz., and the Cubs beat the Rangers 11-7 on Daryle Ward's grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning off Jesse Ingram.
Starting in right field, Sosa grounded into a forceout, legged out an infield single and hit a hopper that took a wild bounce before Cubs shortstop Ronny Cedeno reached up and made a nice play before throwing him out. Sosa's still batting .410 this spring.
How did the fans in right field treat him? He used to be their darling, an entertainer when he played the position in Chicago.
"Great," he said.
Did they yell at him?
"In my favor, yes," he said.
"He deserves good things from the fans. He did a lot of good things in Chicago," Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano said.
Sosa hit 545 of his 588 homers with the Cubs. How big a deal are the 12 homers that would land him at the 600 landmark? He actually wants more.
"I'm not going to get in shape for 12 home runs. I'm going to go out there and play. It's going to happen," said Sosa, who also wears No. 21 with the Rangers. "I'm thinking I'm not satisfied. More than that."
White Sox 10, Giants 9
At Tucson, Ariz., Bobby Jenks' ERA ballooned to 10.50 for his five spring games after he allowed three runs and three hits in two innings. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he is concerned about his closer.
"I worry about Bobby. If you are not ready one week and a half before the season starts, you have problems," Guillen said. "If you are not ready to this point, and you are not in condition to start the season right now, you have to dig in and start pushing yourself to get better."
Red Sox 7, Pirates 3
At Bradenton, Fla., Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed one run and one hit in 52â3 innings. The Red Sox right-hander struck out seven and got a standing ovation when he left the game.
Twins 5, Reds 3
At Fort Myers, Fla., Luis Castillo went 3-for-4 with an RBI triple. Entering his second year with the Twins, Castillo is 18-for-34 with five RBIs this spring.
Orioles 4, Cardinals 1
At Jupiter, Fla., Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen pitched the sixth inning in his third appearance of the spring and allowed his first run. Isringhausen, who had hip surgery in September, started and pitched one inning in each of his first two appearances.
Padres 4, Brewers 3
At Peoria, Ariz., Clay Hensley tossed five strong innings for San Diego, allowing one run and one hit. Hensley struck out six and walked none. J.J. Hardy homered for the Brewers.
Angels 8, Diamondbacks 3
At Tempe, Ariz., Joe Saunders scattered eight hits over 4 1-3 innings and allowed two runs after manager Mike Scioscia tabbed him as Los Angeles' No. 4 starter with Jered Weaver and Bartolo Colon on the shelf to start the regular season.
Seattle 7, Rockies 4
At Tucson, Ariz., Raul Ibanez homered and Yuniesky Betancourt went 2-for-4 with a triple for the Mariners. Josh Fogg pitched 52â3 innings for the Rockies, allowing three runs and five hits.
Nationals 6, Braves 5
At Viera, Fla., Mark Redman pitched five solid innings, allowing two runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and two walks in his third appearance this spring for Atlanta. Andruw Jones homered and drove in two runs for the Braves, who lost when Washington rallied in the ninth.
Devil Rays 9, Astros 2
At Kissimmee, Fla., Woody Williams allowed 12 hits and nine runs in four innings in Houston's loss. Carl Crawford and Elijah Dukes got three hits apiece for Tampa Bay, and Crawford had two RBIs.
Mets 6, Dodgers 2
At Vero Beach, Fla., New York's Oliver Perez tossed six strong innings, giving up one unearned run, while his Los Angeles counterpart, Brad Penny, was scratched from the lineup because of irritation in his right shoulder.
Jose Reyes keyed the Mets offense, going 3-for-3, stealing three bases and scoring four runs. Catcher Ramon Castro added a two-run homer.
Phillies 10, Blue Jays 6
At Dunedin, Fla., Chase Utley and Shane Victorino hit two-run homers and Wes Helms added a solo drive for the Phillies and Frank Thomas hit a two-run drive for the Blue Jays.
Phillies starter Freddy Garcia left the game after the first inning because of stiffness in his right biceps.