ARLINGTON -- Sammy Sosa wants to play for the Rangers in 2008. But even if that doesn't work out, Sosa said he is definitely going to play for somebody next year and has no plans to retire. "No question, without a doubt," Sosa said before Thursday's game with the Rangers. Sosa wasn't in the lineup, but went into the game hitting .253 with 20 home runs and a club-leading 90 RBIs.
"I've played good and all the teams see the numbers I have," Sosa said. "Right now I have other options in my mind, but the Texas Rangers are the team that gave me the opportunity. I appreciate what they've done. I want to see what they have in mind. I'd love to come back, no question." Manager Ron Washington said on Wednesday that he would recommend that Sosa be brought back. Washington, general manager Jon Daniels and their staffs met on Thursday for four hours to go over all the Rangers personnel and obviously Sosa was a topic of conversation. One possibility is that the Rangers may want him back as a platoon player against left-handers. Sosa didn't comment on that, saying he'd rather wait and hear from the Rangers after the season. "I want to see what their thinking is," Sosa said. "I want to see what they think is best for the team. We'll have some conversations." Sosa, who sat out all of 2006 before signing a Minor League contract with the Rangers, said this has been the most enjoyable season of his career. "This year I enjoyed more than any in Chicago," Sosa said. "I had some great years in Chicago, but when you go away for a year, you learn to enjoy every moment. That's the difference. That's the enjoyment I have. I'm doing my job, but I'm also enjoying being with each guy." Padilla drops appeal: Vicente Padilla has dropped his appeal and began serving his seven-game suspension on Thursday. He won't be eligible to pitch again until the Rangers final three-game series against the Seattle Mariners next weekend. But Washington said he is planning on going with Edinson Volquez, Kevin Millwood and Brandon McCarthy in that series. "He might come out of the bullpen," Washington said. "That's the only way he's going to pitch if he does. He certainly won't be getting a start." Padilla was scheduled to start on Monday against the Angels but will be scratched. Rookie right-hander Armando Galarraga, who has made two relief appearances, is likely to start that game. Galarraga held the Twins to one run over three innings on Wednesday night. His best moment came in the sixth when the Twins had the bases loaded and nobody out, and didn't to score. "He showed some poise, especially when he got in that bases loaded situation and got out of it," Washington said. "He gave up a leadoff home run in the next inning and it didn't rattle him. He throws strikes." Blalock watch: Third baseman Hank Blalock played catch again on Thursday with some more improvement in his elbow, but admitted he's running out of time to return to the field. Blalock was activated off the disabled list on Sept. 1, but has not played the field since undergoing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery on his shoulder in May. He has been bothered by discomfort in the elbow of late and that has kept him from playing in the field. "If we were fighting for a playoff spot I'd be playing third base," Blalock said. "But I don't want to be going into the offseason with my elbow feeling sore. Being out there on defense is secondary." Blalock is hoping that the arm will be 100 percent by the end of the season so that he can begin immediately an extensive strength and conditioning program during the offseason. "When I come to Spring Training I want my arm to be stronger than ever," Blalock said. Otsuka done: There is no pretense anymore. Reliever Akinori Otsuka has stopped throwing and is done for the year. He has been sidelined since the end of June with inflammation in his right elbow and is now focused on rest and rehabilitation. Scott Feldman has also likely pitched for the last time. He is sidelined with a bone bruise in his right knee and is not yet throwing off a mound. Four with 10: Padilla's loss on Wednesday dropped his record to 6-10 and left the Rangers with four pitchers with at least 10 losses. The others are Millwood (9-13), Kameron Loe (6-11) and McCarthy, who was 5-10 going into Thursday's game. The Rangers haven't had four pitchers with at least that many losses since 1988: Charlie Hough (15-16), Paul Kilgus (12-15), Jose Guzman (11-13) and Bobby Witt (8-10). He said it: "I figured I'd get another chance. I'll be less nervous and have more of a comfort level. I'm going to stay with my plan -- throw sinkers and change speeds. I try to attack the hitters, get first pitch strikes. I don't want to be behind in the count." -- Luis Mendoza, who makes his second Major League start on Friday. Briefly: The SPCA pet adoption vehicle will set up outside the Home Plate Gate beginning at 5 p.m. CT on Friday, allowing potential adopters to get a close look at the dogs. ... Any fan who buys a ticket to a game on the final homestand gets a ticket voucher redeemable for two free tickets up to Lexus Club Terrace Level for a Sunday or Thursday game in April or May of next year, excluding Opening Day, or games against the Red Sox, Yankees or Astros. Up next: Mendoza pitches for the Rangers at 7:05 p.m. CT Friday against the Baltimore Orioles at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Former Rangers pitcher Victor Santos gets the nod for the Orioles.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.