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Saturday, July 29, 2006

SF Giants Bring Mike Stanton from Nationals to shore up bullpen

This should help take the pressure off Benitez and quiet fans and KNBR's Ralph Barberi in the process. Good move.

PITTSBURGH -- The San Francisco Giants boosted their bullpen for the stretch run, acquiring veteran left-handed reliever Mike Stanton on Friday from the Washington Nationals for a minor league pitcher.

56 3 5 21 30 4.47

The Nationals will receive 19-year-old right-hander Shairon Martis, who was pitching at Class A Augusta. Martis threw a no-hitter for the Netherlands against Panama during the World Baseball Classic in March.

Stanton was 3-5 with a 4.47 ERA for the Nationals. He could be valuable in the Giants' push for the playoffs, having pitched in the postseason in 12 of his 18 major league seasons, including six playoff appearances with the Yankees (1997-2002).

Entering Friday, the Giants were third in the NL West, three games behind division-leading San Diego and a half-game behind Arizona.

The trade was announced while Stanton was in Los Angeles with the Nationals to play the Dodgers. He'll join the Giants in Pittsburgh on Saturday, but the team still has to make another move to clear space for him on the roster.

Stanton has appeared in 56 games this year, second-most in the National League. He has 1,083 career regular season appearances, third-most in the majors.

The trade was the second addition in a week to the San Francisco bullpen. Right-hander Vinnie Chulk joined the Giants on July 21 as part of the deal that also brought first baseman Shea Hillenbrand from Toronto in exchange for reliever Jeremy Accardo.

Harold Reynolds - Petition Drive To Get Job Back Picking Up Steam

There's a new website called "Freeharoldreynolds.com" which features an online petition to convince ESPN to give the fired baaseball analyst his job back.

I hope it gets tons of signatures. As of this writing it has 126.

It seems that the mainstream media was too quick to bury Reynolds without knowing the whole story. There's also a much needed social discussion about the events leading up to his dismisal; a discussion being buried in the press.

It's said that there are "different rules" for black men, and this is accepted in some corners by African American men. But the very existence of "different rules" -- where Reynolds probably should not have had lunch with, let alone hug a white intern, whereas it's OK for a white man to do this (and yes, I'm guessing she was, but knowing ESPN and the sports industry in the USA it's doubtful she was anything else) -- implies that subtle racism is alive and well.

I don't care what anyone says, until proven otherwise, I'm resting with the point of view I originally expressed. I'm extremely confident I'm correct, especiallly given sport's tendency to go and search for young white female interns -- and generally they're blond. The sports execs in these organizations go after them like sharks chasing chum in the water.

I've seen this first hand. I took a good friend of mine who's white, female, and blond and who has no problem hugging me to a Christmas party hosted by a sports network I will not name, and before we could leave she'd already scheduled a time to be interviewed for -- you guessed it -- an internship.


Once the alcohol flowed and the food was consumed some of the white males in charge were asking all kinds of questions, and one guy who just didn't know any better started into a conversation with me about African Americans and some attittude he had I didn't recall for posterity. I was there to achieve an objective, so I didn't care. Aside from my putting in face-time, she wanted a sports internship, so I took her to the party knowing exactly what was going to happen, and I was right.

It was all too easy.

As of this writing, she's had internships with two major sport teams.

The ball's in the court of others to prove me wrong.

Our social reconstruction's far from over, let the process continue.

Friday, July 28, 2006

SF Giants - Armando Benitez Not The Only Giant at Fault For Losses - Ray Durham

KNBR's Ralph Barberi got on the radiowaves Thursday and let lose on Armando Benitez, even referring to him as a jerk. It was a shameful display on his part -- and I know and like Ralph -- he should appologize on the air. He came close to slander in my view. Plus, Ray Durham's come to defend Armando Benitez.

Durham takes the blame for Benitez's blown save
Henry Schulman, SF Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, July 27, 2006

(07-27) 14:55 PDT Washington -- Armando Benitez is taking a beating back home over his blown saves Sunday and Wednesday night. At least one Giant believes Benitez should not be blamed for the second one.

"It wasn't his fault," Ray Durham said. "I take full responsibility for it. It was his job to get a groundball, and he got it. I'm supposed to make the play and I didn't."

Durham was referring to Felipe Lopez's one-out grounder with a man aboard and the Giants leading 3-2. Durham said he was rushing to glove the ball because he thought the he could start a double play, and it bounced off his glove for what was ruled a hit. The Nationals went on to score twice and win 4-3.

From draft to majors?: Tim Lincecum, the Giants' first-round draft pick, had an electric professional debut Wednesday night. He started for rookie-league Salem-Keizer against Vancouver, pitched one inning and struck out three. He also got a flyball out after one of his strikeout victims reached on a wild pitch.

Could Lincecum get a September call-up to work in late relief? It sounds far-fetched, but manager Felipe Alou did not discount the idea when it was broached.

Shortstop Emmanuel Burris, the Giants' sandwich-round pick, has 20 steals in 25 attempts for the Volcanoes.

Radio men: XM satellite radio periodically invites athletes to its Washington studio to host an hourlong show on anything they want. It can be music, politics, sports, whatever. Mark Sweeney and Todd Greene accepted the invitation and hosted a sports talk show, of all things, that will air Saturday at 8 p.m. PDT and Sunday at 7 a.m. on channel 175.

They discussed the NL West race and issues such as injuries in youth sports, and interviewed ESPN analyst Rick Sutcliffe and two division rivals, San Diego's Dave Roberts and Colorado's Matt Holliday.

"It's kind of unique. They're friends of ours," said Sweeney, who wants to get into the media when he retires. He has been a fill-in host of a morning sports-talk program in San Diego.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Jason Giambi and Shawn Chacon Help Yankees Over Rangers 8 to 7

My friend in New York says the Yankees are in the tank, but they just blasted the Texas Rangers, so....Yes, they had a bad series against Toronto, but the Yankees are still just a game-and-a-half behind the Boston Red Sox, who lost to the Oakland A's last night.

ARLINGTON -- MLB.com , By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com -- Since being demoted from the starting rotation more than three weeks ago, Shawn Chacon has done a lot of sitting around.

The right-hander had pitched just twice since July 4, making two appearances in last weekend's series against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

When the Yankees took a two-run lead into the eighth inning on Wednesday night, it looked like it would be another night for Chacon to sit in the bullpen, watching his teammates contribute to another win.

But when things took a turn for the worse and the Yankees gave up the lead, manager Joe Torre called on Chacon to come in with the bases loaded and no outs, hoping that he would be able to limit the damage.

"You come in with the bases loaded and no outs, you're just trying to get outs," Chacon said. "Getting out of there with no runs is the best thing, but realistically, it rarely ever happens."

A strikeout of Mark DeRosa and an athletic double play by Chacon himself allowed the Yankees to escape the inning with their deficit at one run. The unlikely had happened, giving the offense one last crack at the Rangers in the ninth.

"After Chacon got the double play, I had a good feeling," said Alex Rodriguez. "We were deflated, but we got some momentum back. When they didn't score, we felt this was our game."

Jason Giambi took care of the rest, drilling a two-run homer off closer Akinori Otsuka, as the Yankees left Texas with an 8-7 win over the Rangers, completing the three-game sweep.

"[Chacon] came in and was totally lights-out," Torre said. "He kept us in a position to do what we did. He's the player of the game for me."

"After getting out of that jam, someone made a comment that we were going to win this game," Chacon (5-3) said. "It just felt like we were. They could have blown it open and they didn't, and it wasn't a game that was ever out of either team's reach."

The win vaulted the Yankees into the Wild Card lead, a half-game ahead of the White Sox and Twins. New York also closed the gap in the AL East, where Boston's lead for first place now stands at just 1 1/2 games.

"It's crazy, but we're not really concerned," said Torre of the playoff standings. "I'm sure other people think it's a great accomplishment, but you don't accomplish it until the season is over."

"It's still too early to sit around and worry about who is in the playoffs now," Derek Jeter said. "You don't set your sights on the Wild Card. That's something that you fall back on, so we still have some work to be done. We're trying to catch Boston."

The final two innings of the game featured a total of nine runs, as the Yankees took a 6-4 lead with four runs in the eighth only to watch the Rangers counter with three in the bottom of the frame.

Giambi, who entered his final at-bat with just four hits in 25 at-bats on the road trip, landed the final blow with his homer, allowing closer Mariano Rivera to close out the win for his 25th save.

"That game was a roller coaster," Torre said. "It was a great game and it was exciting, but I'm glad we came out on top. If Jason was going to save up for a hit, that was the one to get."

"Derek and I were goofing around in the on-deck circle; I told him to get on and give me an opportunity," Giambi said. "I know I didn't swing the bat well in the first couple of games here in Texas, but I got one big one. That's all that really matters."

Andy Phillips (3-for-5) snapped an 0-for-18 skid with a two-run single in the first, but Texas countered with a pair of runs in both the second and fourth innings, taking a 4-2 lead.

Starter Jaret Wright, who hasn't pitched more than six innings in a game this season, was charged with four runs (three earned) on five hits and a walk, striking out three, over 5 1/3 innings.

A-Rod cut the Rangers' lead to one with a solo homer to center, his 22nd, in the eighth against reliever Francisco Cordero. Rodriguez went 4-for-12 with two walks, a hit-by-pitch, two RBIs and five runs scored in the three-game series against his former team.

Cordero walked Bernie Williams and Phillips singled, putting the go-ahead run on base. Melky Cabrera tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt, but fouled off his attempt. Torre took the bunt sign off, but Cabrera missed the sign, bunting it foul for a second time.

That turned out to be good news for the Yankees, as Cabrera drilled a 2-2 pitch for a double to left-center field, scoring both runners to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead.

"We're still working on signs," joked Torre. "That at-bat was huge; it was certainly one of the real big keys for us."

Catcher Sal Fasano, acquired in a trade with the Phillies earlier in the day, bunted Cabrera to third. Cabrera scored on a Cordero wild pitch, boosting the lead to two runs.

With a two-run lead, the Yankees had Kyle Farnsworth warming up in the bullpen, but Farnsworth sat down after his back tightened up on him. T.J. Beam came in instead, giving up a walk and a double to put the tying runs in scoring position.

That brought reliever Scott Proctor into the game -- the third consecutive game in which he has pitched -- and he gave up four straight singles, giving Texas a 7-6 lead. Before the game, Torre said he would avoid using Proctor "at all costs" on Wednesday, but he had little choice in that situation.

"Proctor deserves a merit of honor here," Torre said. "He told [pitching coach Ron Guidry] he could get a couple of outs; he had one ball hit hard off him. He gave us a valiant try there."

Chacon came in and worked his magic act, making a quick grab on Brad Wilkerson's liner back to the mound. Chacon spun toward third to see if he could double Mark Teixeira off the base, then turned toward second, where Hank Blalock was returning to that base. Chacon looked at first and threw to Phillips, beating Jerry Hairston to the base to complete his unlikely double play.

"I stuck my glove out and it was there," Chacon said. "My feet did the rest."

Otsuka came in for the save opportunity, but Jeter singled, setting up Giambi's two-run blast to right field, his 29th of the season. The Yankees headed into their off-day on the highest of highs, turning a potentially disastrous road trip into a very positive one.

"We've been pretty good at putting that stuff behind us," Jeter said of the 1-3 series in Toronto. "We basically forgot about Toronto when we got here. It says a lot about our team to forget about how poorly we played, turn it around and sweep this team."

"I feel like we robbed a bank today," A-Rod said as he headed out of the clubhouse. "Twice."

Harold Reynolds Fired From ESPN Baseball Analyst Job For Hugging A White Girl

You read that correctly. Harold Reynolds was fired from ESPN for, as Fox News reported "a hug." (I don't know if it's Amber from Clearbuck.com in this picture, but I doubt it unless she started working for ESPN.)

A hug.

Now, I don't have to know any more details from here, but they will come out. First, Harold Reynolds is black and a former baseball player. I'll bet the woman he hugged was white, or at least not black. But I'll go with white and for the simple reason of racial boundaries that are maintained primarily by European American women in today's culture and at times this practice takes on absurd proportions.

Why? Well in my view, and from observation and experience with a friend who I was able to sit down with and have a long talk -- we're still great friends -- I know this is the case.

See, some -- not all -- young white women grow up with a confusing message that on the one hand says "date and marry someone white" but on the other hand says "have all people of different colors as friends." And there's where that funny boundary is -- if you have a man as a friend, it's certain to have a chance to become romantic.

That's just a fact.

So for a white woman who feels like she's got to bind herself to an old "white's only" rule, life's hard, but what makes it even harder is when they take out their racial boundary frustration on men -- black men. It becomes even harder for that white woman to maintain her "white guy only" stance in a social sea of more and more white women with black men, and black women with white men. (Which, by the way, will continue as long as the pool of good available straight and employed black men is smaller than it should be. Personally, I think everyone should be forced to date everyone without the race boundary issues -- it makes you a smarter person because of the experience you gain.)

In my case, my friend and I ended up sharing a hotel room and one bed at the Super Bowl a few years ago and it was during that episode that I learned about her and racism and really how much of it was in her. She admittted to a boat load of problems and I was taken aback. But we talked it through and worked things out.

Harold Reynolds apparently didn't have that chance.

Harold Reynolds undoubtedly knew this woman and she had lunch with him. Did she have to be attracted to him? Heck, have fun. Who cares. But a white woman who has racist thoughts and ideas does care -- take a look at this article, or take a look at these exchanges on this message board. I'll bet if the guy at ESPN were white and someone she was attracted to and named Harold Reynolds, you wouldn't be reading this today.

Am I saying that the woman would put up with a sexy hug under those conditions -- well, I'll go a step beyond that and say that she'd initiate it. Think about it. How many office romances do we hear about? How many do you know about? They come about between two people who are attracted to each other in the workplace.

So what happens in the gray area, where the two people are of different colors and the man being the agressor makes an advance that's both kind of wanted, but really not totally wanted by the woman, and for a reason she can't admit -- race.

Think of the number of personal ads where supposedly non-racist women ask for a man of a specific color, rather than just picking "any?" Think about it. What does that woman do -- let's say she's white -- when they have a hard time meeting a straight white guy? Well she'll get angry and frustrated.

Ha. That's a conversation I had with a San Francisco white female friend who took off to Seattle -- which is only about six percent black -- to meet some guy. "See, I'm part of the Angry White Girls. I'm over 30 and I can't find a (white straight) guy here (in San Francisco)." It was another revealing look at how racism clashes with social morals to produce a negative attitude.

Or more to the point, let's say the woman's a young ESPN professional, star struck -- surrounded by all the greats like Chris Berman and Trey Wingo. But they won't ask her to lunch. So she goes to lunch with Harold Reynolds because he's an analyst and he's almost up there with them -- even though he's black. If she's got that kind of closet racist attitude, it's going to be activated and it will come out.

And spill all over Harold Reynolds.

Would it happen to any white male analyst at ESPN? Not as likely by -- a Barry Bonds home run shot.

You may not agree with this, and you'll come up with the usual attempts to explain away what happened, and all of them will avoid the matter of race.

And you would be wrong.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Roger Clements Tops Greg Maddux - Cubs Dropped By Astros 4-2

From MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Although a starting pitcher typically thinks more about the opponent's lineup than the quality of the pitcher his team will face, it's likely both Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens knew they had to bring their "A" games to Wrigley Field on Wednesday night.

It's likely the sellout crowd of 40,344 hoped for and expected a pitchers' duel, and the two future Hall of Famers delivered. Clemens, buoyed by adequate run support, prevailed as the Houston Astros topped the Chicago Cubs, 4-2, to even the series at one game apiece.

Clemens was very much Rocket-like during his 85-pitch outing, throwing six shutout frames while walking one and striking out five. He scattered three hits, never allowing more than one in a single inning.

Craig Biggio's leadoff homer stood as the only scoring by either club for five innings. That changed in the sixth, when the Astros plated two runs off Maddux, whose losing streak extended to six.

Earlier, the inning had the makings of a small disaster.

Mike Lamb knocked an infield hit toward second to begin the frame, and he caught a break after he ran on Maddux's pitch-out. The ball reached shortstop Ronny Cedeno in plenty of time, but instead of moving toward Lamb on the play, Cedeno moved his glove in the opposite direction after receiving a decent throw from Michael Barrett.

Lamb was called safe, but the lucky breaks ended on the next play when Chris Burke bunted toward Maddux, who made a perfect throw to third baseman Aramis Ramirez to erase the lead runner.

Lance Berkman popped to Derrek Lee a few feet in front of the plate for the second out, but Aubrey Huff singled to center, moving Burke to third. Up came Preston Wilson, who commemorated his 32nd birthday with a double to the gap in right-center, scoring both runners and putting the Astros ahead, 3-0.

The Cubs narrowed the gap in the eighth when Todd Walker knocked a two-run homer off Trever Miller. The Astros countered with a run in the ninth on a squeeze play -- with Wilson on third, Adam Everett sent a perfect bunt toward third. Wilson scored easily.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The federal investigation of Barry Bonds approaches a key juncture Thursday, with the grand jury probing the baseball star for perjury and tax evasion set to expire and a possible indictment of Bonds looming.
"I don't think Barry has violated any laws. Under our system, if the government is going to point a finger at him, the government better be well prepared to," said Bonds' attorney, Michael Rains. "I will do everything in my power to make sure that Barry gets a tenacious and effective defense."

Bonds' personal trainer, Greg Anderson, also was awaiting a key ruling from a federal appeals court that could release him from prison, where he was sent earlier this month after refusing to testify against his childhood friend.

Anderson likely holds the key to whether perjury charges could stick against Bonds, who testified in 2003 that he thought substances given to him by the trainer were arthritis balm and flaxseed oil.

Authorities suspected Bonds was lying and that those items were "the clear" and "the cream" _ two performance-enhancing drugs tied to the BALCO, the lab exposed as a steroids supplier to top athletes in baseball, track and other sports.

"Obviously, they think they need Greg to prove perjury," Mark Geragos, Anderson's lawyer, said Wednesday.

Allegations of steroid use long have plagued Bonds, who passed Babe Ruth in May for second only to Hank Aaron on the career home run list. They intensified in late 2003, when he testified before the original Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative grand jury, which took testimony from about two dozen athletes.

Anderson's status is one of many legal uncertainties surrounding the Giants slugger.

Without the trainer's help, prosecutors still could indict Bonds on charges alleging he failed to pay taxes on money made through sales of autographs and other memorabilia. They also could seek to extend the grand jury's term to put more pressure on Anderson to cooperate, or convene a new panel and put Anderson back in jail. There's also the chance Bonds might be indicted on perjury charges without Anderson's testimony.

Federal prosecutors declined to comment Wednesday.

Anderson was one of five men convicted in the steroids scandal surrounding BALCO. He was sentenced to three months behind bars and three months of home confinement in October after pleading guilty to money laundering and steroid distribution.

He was found in contempt of court and jailed again July 5 for refusing to testify in the Bonds probe.

Federal prosecutors say they need Anderson, in part, to interpret calendars that seem to spell out Bonds' schedule for using performance-enhancing drugs. The calendars were seized by investigators from Anderson's house in 2003.

Geragos says Anderson must be released when the grand jury's term expires Thursday, even if prosecutors succeed in extending the panel's investigation.

But former federal prosecutors said authorities likely will try to keep him locked up.

"That's simply because he hasn't served that much time in jail," said Jonathan Howden, who left the U.S. Attorney's office earlier this year after 25 years as a prosecutor. "Under normal circumstances, the judge would find that he is still lawfully subject to the contempt order."

Separately, Geragos has launched an effort to get his client freed based on a tape-recorded conversation that Geragos says was made illegally in the spring of 2003 by government investigators. On the tape, Anderson allegedly discusses Bonds' illegal drug use with an unidentified athlete.

"Mr. Anderson allegedly makes numerous remarks regarding baseball's steroids testing, Barry Bonds' use of an undetectable performance-enhancing drug to beat drug tests, and Mr. Anderson's own alleged steroid use," Geragos said in a court filing.

Geragos is demanding that the government disclose the contents of that tape. He suspects they won't and says it's illegal for Anderson to remain in prison because he won't testify about information the government allegedly obtained without a warrant.

"They have to turn over the tape or let Greg out," Geragos said.

A decision on that argument is expected soon from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Former federal prosecutors said Anderson faces long odds with that argument because grand jury witnesses aren't entitled to see the government's evidence before they testify, except on rare occasions.

Geragos argued this is such an occasion, because he says the tape Anderson's acquaintance made is an illegal wiretap. If the appeals court agrees, then Anderson would not have to testify, according to Geragos.

That scenario could jeopardize the government's perjury investigation, he added.

Video - Trip To SF Giants Game v. Phillies - Barry Hits #721

This videos is a kind of small trip one person took to AT&T Park to see the SF Giants take on the Phillies. What they didn't know was that Barry Bonds would hit home run #721

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Jose Canseco Says Baseball Leaked Positive Steroids Test Information On Rafael Palmeiro

And more. That's just the start. I'm glad he's sticking up for himself and at a time when people seem to be against him for no good reason. I'm willing to bet he comes out as in the right. He says steroids have slowed the aging process for him -- I just want to know what kind?

CHICO, Calif. ESPN -- Jose Canseco wrote the book that helped persuade baseball to toughen its steroids policy, and he insists there's much more damaging information to come.

Canseco Drops More Bombs


Jose Canseco packed quite a wallop (of the verbal kind, at least) as he prepared to play for the San Diego Surf Dawgs of the independent Golden Baseball League. His final line Monday: 3 K's, one HBP in the Dawgs' 4-3 victory over the Chico Outlaws. But before the game, his first since 2001 ...

• Canseco accused baseball of cutting Rafael Palmeiro a deal to testify against him in March 2005, saying MLB then went ahead and leaked Palmeiro's positive test out of fear that Congress would find out anyway. "I know what I know" is all Canseco would say.

• Canseco said he will meet in the coming weeks with former Sen. George Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader appointed in March by Selig to head the sport's investigation into steroids.

• He said that Alex Rodriguez told him about six years ago that Canseco was being "blackballed" by baseball.

• He noted that years of steroids use has helped slow the aging process for him.

• Canseco is working on a movie and two more books, saying he intends to "rectify" his tarnished image.

• "I feel one person can make a difference. I feel one person can change the world. I want Major League Baseball to know I'm not going away that easy."

"I think what we're seeing is just the tip of the iceberg," Canseco said Monday, about five hours before he was set to take the field for the first time with the San Diego Surf Dawgs in the independent Golden Baseball League. "I know for a fact that's what we're seeing."

Canseco received a smattering of boos and cheers before the game when he was announced as the designated hitter against the Chico Outlaws, then again when he stepped into the batter's box leading off the second inning.

Canseco, who said it had been at least four years since he last swung a wooden bat, struck out three times and was hit by a pitch in the Surf Dawgs' 4-3 victory. The game drew 4,501 fans for the largest crowd ever to watch a game in Nettleton Stadium.

"I don't know right now how to attack a breaking ball," he said while fireworks went off behind him. "The pitchers have the upper hand. It will take a week or so. I've struck out three times in the big leagues when hitting hot as ever and come back the next day and hit a home run."

He struck out swinging on four pitches leading off the second and again in the third on five pitches, getting razzed in the process.

"Juiced!" one fan hollered, a reference to his book. "That's not a big league pitcher, Jose," another man yelled.

Earlier, Canseco called Major League Baseball "the mafia" for the way it has handled the game's steroids scandal and suggested that the sport will discipline only certain players and might even hide the truth when it comes to big-name stars and positive tests.

He plans to fight baseball to bring out the truth.

"They're mafia, point blank, they're mafia," Canseco said. "I don't think Major League Baseball is enthused about finding out the truth. There needs to be a major cleanup in Major League Baseball. I think they are treading on very thin ice, and [commissioner] Bud Selig has to be very careful what he's doing because his job is on the line."

When contacted about Canseco's comments, baseball spokesman Pat Courtney said, "We wouldn't comment on anything he said."

One day after his 42nd birthday, Canseco showed up at the ballpark tanned and toned with his short, black hair slicked back. He sported tight jeans and a black button-down shirt, with several of those buttons open, exposing his muscular chest. And he noted that years of steroids use has helped slow the aging process for him. He weighs 230 pounds -- down significantly from his playing weight of between 255 and 260.

The league said Canseco has agreed to be subjected to its drug-testing policy "that immediately expels any players found using steroids or illegal drugs." The league said nine players, out of more than 200 tested, were tossed for illegal drug use last year.

"Jose will be treated consistent with all of our players regarding drug testing," league commissioner Kevin Outchalt said.

Canseco's return comes some 16 months after he attracted Congress' attention with an autobiography, "Juiced," that accused several top players of steroid use -- including fellow Cuban Rafael Palmeiro, who was suspended on Aug. 1 last season for violating baseball's new steroids policy and claimed he didn't know how the drug got in his body.

In a 2005 interview on the CBS television show "60 Minutes," Canseco also said he injected Rafael Palmeiro with steroids. Palmeiro is now out of baseball.

"The reason why I wrote this book is to fight Major League Baseball," Canseco said. "I feel one person can make a difference. I feel one person can change the world. I want Major League Baseball to know I'm not going away that easy."

Canseco accused baseball of cutting Palmeiro a deal to testify against him, saying MLB then went ahead and leaked Palmeiro's positive test out of fear that Congress would find out anyway.

How does he have that information?

"I know what I know," he said. "The majority of the reason why I wrote the book is to show Major League Baseball that they cannot try to destroy an athlete's career. I've seen them blackball many players and I can't believe none of these players has taken a stand and said anything about it."

In March 2005, Canseco testified before the House Government Reform committee that he used performance-enhancing drugs as a player.

He also said Monday that New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez told him after Dan Marino's Pro-Am golf tournament about six years ago that Canseco was being "blackballed" by baseball.

"I challenge him in a polygraph test to say no," Canseco said.

Canseco carried a fancy, red duffel bag when he made his entrance into the modest, 4,100-seat ballpark, home of the Chico Outlaws on the campus of rural Chico State University, some 170 miles north of the San Francisco Bay area. A sellout crowd was expected for Canseco's return.

The former slugger -- he has 462 career home runs -- is back in professional baseball for the first time since finishing his 17-year major league career with the Chicago White Sox in 2001. Canseco signed with the Surf Dawgs last week for the remaining two months of the season, set to earn the league's maximum salary of $2,500 a month. He even plans to pitch, featuring a knuckleball, and threw a bullpen session before Monday's game.

It is unclear when Canseco might take the mound for the first time.

"Will it be with a one-run lead in the ninth? No," Surf Dawgs manager Terry Kennedy said.

Before the game, the Outlaws gathered in the shade and watched Canseco hit about six homers during batting practice. Even concession stand workers left their posts to take a peek.

He was initially slated to bat cleanup, but Kennedy later moved him down to sixth. Canseco pulled on a navy blue Surf Dawgs cap and held up his No. 33 uniform in a 20-minute outdoor news conference held in front of about 50 people, including a couple of fans wearing Oakland Athletics gear -- his first club.

Canseco is working on a movie and two more books, saying he intends to "rectify" his tarnished image.

"The movie is going to be devastating, no ifs and buts about it," he said.

Canseco said he will meet in the coming weeks with former Sen. George Mitchell, the former Senate majority leader appointed in March by Selig to head the sport's investigation into steroids.

Baseball has toughened its drug policy several times in recent years, but Canseco isn't satisfied.

"They now realize it started with me and ends with me," he said. "The policy sounds great, but that's not the problem. There are major problems not with the policies but the individuals who are instituting this policy."

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