Notes and Quotes: Baker Denies Blaming Sosa

RF Sammy Sosa was fined $87,400 by the team for leaving an Oct. 3 game early without permission. It's the largest fine in team history. He will appeal. He also is the subject of trade rumors.

Although general manager Jim Hendry said he has not talked with anyone yet, there is media speculation that the New York Mets, Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers could be interested.

LHP Glendon Rusch, who pitched well as a spot starter and long reliever, will be a player the Cubs are interested in re-signing. Although he won't be guaranteed the No. 5 spot in next year's rotation, Rusch could be a leading candidate.

LF Moises Alou led the Cubs with 39 homers and 106 RBI, but the Cubs do not plan on exercising his $11.5 million option for 2005. They could sign him to a smaller figure but have to decide if his reported $6 million asking price is worth signing him to another season.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- Number of consecutive seasons Greg Maddux has won exactly 16 games. 3 -- Number of seasons in the last four years Greg Maddux has lost exactly 11 games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I can't figure out where he figured out that I blamed him for whatever. I've done nothing but cover the guy. Have you heard me blame Sammy for anything? So what is he talking about? Where are his comments coming from? You never heard me blame Sammy for anything." -- Manager Dusty Baker on Sammy Sosa's recent comments that Baker blamed Sosa for the Cubs not making the playoffs this year and the World Series last year.

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