306-sosa-mcgwire

Sluggers Sammy Sosa, left, and Mark McGwire rejuvenated baseball in 1998 with a memorable home run race. ((James A. Finley/Associated Press))

Former slugger Sammy Sosa tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug during the 2003 season, the New York Times reported on its website Tuesday.

Citing lawyers familiar with the situation, the newspaper reported that Sosa failed the test for a banned substance, but did not reveal the drug.

Linked to performance-enhancing drugs along with fellow former players Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens, Sosa was reportedly one of 104 players to test positive during a 2003 baseball survey, according to the Times.

The survey was conducted as part of an agreement between baseball and the players' union — a study to determine if the game should make random drug testing mandatory for the 2004 season.

Penalties for a first positive test began in 2005.

Adam Katz, Sosa's agent, had no comment when reached by The Associated Press. Rich Levin, spokesman for the commissioner's office, also refused to comment, stating Major League Baseball did not have a copy of the list of positive tests.

Sosa sat with McGwire, Jose Canseco and Rafael Palmeiro and denied using steroids when he testified before Congress in 2005.

"To be clear, I have never taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs," he said at the time.

Former pitcher Pedro Martinez, who competed against Sosa a number of times throughout his career, said he was saddened to hear his fellow Dominican Republic native implicated in the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

"This news would make me feel terrible if it is proven that Sammy tested positive," Martinez said in the Dominican Republic.

"This is a problem of all of baseball, not just Dominican baseball. But in reality, this is a problem of education that has to be attacked," he said.

Baseball is still reeling from big-name players who have violated the game's drug policy.

Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez is currently serving a 50-game suspension for taking a banned substance. New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez admitted during spring training using steroids while playing for the Texas Rangers from 2001-03.

Sosa, 40, sixth on baseball's career home run list with 609, hasn't competed since 2007.

He helped rejuvenate baseball in 1998 with McGwire as the two embarked on a race to break the late Roger Maris's single-season home run record of 61.

McGwire finished with 70 and Sosa posted 66. Bonds broke McGwire's record three years later by smacking 73 homers.

Sosa continued his torrid home run pace, hitting 63, 50, 64, 49 dingers the following four years.

He played with the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers duruing his 18-year career.

With files from The Associated Press