Sammy Sosa tells friends he is comfortable in his own skin.
But a widely circulated photo of the former Cubs slugger makes his skin color appear several shades lighter.
"He's not trying to be Michael Jackson," said former Cubs employee Rebecca Polihronis, who talks frequently with Sosa.
Sosa was photographed recently during an appearance at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
"He is going through a rejuvenation process for his skin," Polihronis said. "Women have it all of the time. He was surprised he came out looking so white. I thought it was a body double. Part of (the photo appearance) is just the lighting.
"He is in the middle of doing a cleansing process to his skin. The picture is deceiving. He said, 'If you saw me in person, you would be surprised. When you see me in person, it is not going to seem like the picture.'
"People who saw him in person did not react the same way. He can't believe it is such a big deal."
Polihronis, the former Cubs Care/Community Relations manager for the team, said Sosa told her he has used moisturizing treatment at night on his face.
"He has always been concerned with the way he looks," she said. "Probably just bad timing going to an awards show."
Among the possible side effects for some laser skin rejuvenation methods include discoloration of the skin. The treated area may become lighter or darker in appearance.
"He was doing a dermatological skin process after years and years (of playing baseball) in the sun," Polihronis said. "It did come out looking weird (in the picture)."