Associated Press
Posted: 10 hours ago

BALTIMORE - The Baltimore Orioles have officially announced that they will not be bringing back outfielder Sammy Sosa or first baseman Rafael Palmeiro.

"At this point, we are heading in a different direction," club executive vice president Mike Flanagan said.
Palmeiro and Sosa have indicated that they would like to return to baseball in 2006.

But the prospects of either re-joining the Orioles dwindled dramatically after both suffered through terrible seasons.

Sosa, who turned 37 Saturday, came to the Orioles in a Feb. 2 trade with the Chicago Cubs for second baseman Jerry Hairston and two minor leaguers. After hitting 35 or more homers in each year since the strike-shortened 1994 season, Sosa was expected to provide an immediate offensive boost while batting cleanup behind Tejada.

Instead, he hit just .221 with 14 homers (his fewest since 1992) and 45 RBIs in 102 games.

Palmeiro's season included collecting his 3,000 career hit in July, and within weeks, being suspended for failing a drug test. Palmeiro, 41, continues to deny he intentionally took steroids, but he has no concrete proof as to why stanozolol was found in his system during a May drug test.

Both players are now unrestricted free agents. Palmeiro is expected to attempt a comeback to help restore his reputation, and Sosa needs just 12 homers to reach the No. 600 milestone.