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SEATTLE -- After he spent his entire morning fielding phone calls and talking with family and friends, Rafael Palmeiro looked at the small envelope on his cell phone and retrieved the next wave of messages.
Yes, the Big Guy called.
Palmeiro, who became the fourth player to amass at least 500 home runs and 3,000 hits when he collected hit No. 3,000 in Friday's 6-3 win over Seattle, had a message from a representative from President George W. Bush. Palmeiro called back and had a five-minute conversation with the president, who owned the Texas Rangers from 1984 to 1994. Palmeiro joined the Rangers in 1989 and played there until 1993.
Bush sold the team so he could run for governor of Texas and the rest is ... well you know, American history.
"It's a great honor," Palmeiro said. "I've known President Bush now for most of my career, because he owned the Rangers when I first went to Texas. We had a nice conversation, he was very proud for me to reach that milestone. We talked about me coming from Cuba and it's been a long road and he asked about my kids. He wants to see my kids. He invited us to the White House when we get back.
"It's very nice of him because with the things that are going on in the world right now, with all of the crazy stuff, for him to take time out to call me and congratulate me that means a lot to me. It's very important for me."
This was not the first time Palmeiro has talked with Bush since he has been president. Palmeiro received a call from the executive office when he hit home run No. 500 on May 11, 2003, against Cleveland.
A representative from Bush called a club official about 10 a.m. (PT) to get contact information for Palmeiro.
"I was on the phone, I had been on the phone all morning receiving calls and calling people back," he said. "When I got off the phone, I retrieved the message and it was a girl from the White House requesting that I would call back or they would call me back later, that the president wanted to speak with me. When my kids settled down, they were fighting making noise in the room, I went ahead and called back and he was on the phone right away."
Palmeiro also spoke with his parents, Jose and Maria, who reside in Miami. Jose was the driving force behind Palmeiro's development as a young player but has rarely made public appearances.
"My mom gets really excited," Palmeiro said. "My dad called me and she wanted to get the phone right away. But he's on a high right now. I guess everyone in Miami is talking about it. The Cuban community is very proud. I am sure he is proud today."
Palmeiro said he received about 40 to 50 phone calls since the historic hit, including from former teammates Ivan Rodriguez and Kenny Rogers, as well as Mississippi State baseball coach Ron Polk.
Sosa on Palmeiro:
Orioles slugger Sammy Sosa was briefly a teammate of Palmeiro's in Texas during the 1989 season and is one of the members of the 500 home run club. He lauded Palmeiro after the feat.
"He has done it for many, many years and today he's in one place not many people can be -- 3,000 hits and 500 home runs," he said. "That's incredible. I feel very happy for him.
"People should remember him as a good guy, a great hitter, 3,000 hits, 500 home runs. Not many people can reach that. In this situation I have a chance to enjoy somebody else, which makes it great."
Meanwhile, Sosa collected the first three-hit game since June 12 on Friday and appears to be warming to the No. 2 spot. He is slowly breaking out of his slump.
"I am not the only one to play this game, everybody who plays this game has to go through this situation, a tough moment," he said. "To me, I am a fighter, I am going to get out of it and I am going to go out there and keep fighting. My manager has been so great to me and he wanted me to go out there and feel comfortable. Mora and Tejada hitting behind me, it's different. Pretty much he wants me to see more pitches and I needed it. I feel great right now."
Deadline approaching :
With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaching, executive vice president Jim Beattie has been working the phones as the market develops. But he said no trade is imminent, despite rumors that Florida's A.J. Burnett could be here by next week.
With the Yankees bringing in veteran Al Leiter and the Red Sox searching to bolster their rotation, Beattie said he does not feel pressed to make a move.
"If there's a player out there that's going to make us better, we're looking at him," Beattie said. "But if a player is not going to make us better and he goes to any other club, that's not concerning.
"There's competition out there from everybody. I feel very good with the players that we have, [that] we're able to do some things, if we decide to do them, we could step up and do them. We have good young players that everybody wants. So the organization has built itself up. [Other teams] can't say, 'There's no one really that we're interested in.' We're not getting that whatsoever."
The Orioles take on the Mariners in the final game of a four-game series at Safeco Field. Right-hander Sidney Ponson (7-7, 5.93 ERA) takes on right-hander Gil Meche (9-6, 4.85 ERA) on Sunday. Ponson is 1-1 with a 2.86 ERA lifetime at Safeco Field.
Dave Borkowski pitched six scoreless innings and Alejandro Freire hit two home runs as Triple-A Ottawa cruised to a 10-2 win over Pawtucket. David Newhan went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs to raise his average to .615.