Canseco's allegations on steroids growing

Report: Ex-player's book implicates Sosa, Tejada, Clemens, Bonds, others

Report: Allegations in Canseco book growing


February 12, 2005|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

With Jose Canseco's controversial new book about to reach stores, a new set of allegations surfaced yesterday that continued to tarnish Major League Baseball, and the Orioles in particular.

According to the New York Daily News, Canseco's book implicates Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Bret Boone and at least four Orioles, among other players, with suspicions of steroid use.

Besides Rafael Palmeiro, who called Canseco's claims "ludicrous" earlier this week, the book goes on to name three Orioles who will join Palmeiro at spring training this month: Sammy Sosa, Miguel Tejada and former Glen Burnie High standout Tony Saunders.

This week, Palmeiro drew the backing of Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who questioned Canseco's credibility and offered to represent Palmeiro in a potential lawsuit.

Last night, the Orioles responded in tune.

"Mr. Angelos' statement earlier this week speaks volumes about Canseco's credibility, or lack of it," team spokesman Bill Stetka said in an e-mail. "We'll reserve further comment until we see if Canseco names Babe Ruth, Abner Doubleday or anyone else."

Canseco says Saunders abused steroids before breaking his arm while throwing a pitch for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1999. Reached by The Sun last night, Saunders initially laughed.

"Consider the source," Saunders said. "Here's a player who had a good career but could not make a mark to get into the Hall of Fame, and I guess he wants to mark everybody else."

The book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, was scheduled for a Feb. 21 release but was pushed up to Monday. Canseco, an admitted steroid user, will be featured on a 60 Minutes segment tomorrow.

Canseco says he personally took steroids with Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez. He also suggests President Bush must have known his players took steroids when he was managing general partner of the Texas Rangers in the early 1990s.

Canseco doesn't say he saw Tejada, Sosa or Saunders take steroids personally, as he does with Palmeiro, but he gives special mention to each, the Daily News reported.

Of Sosa, who came to the Orioles in a trade with the Chicago Cubs last week, Canseco writes, "I don't know Sammy Sosa personally, so I can't say for a fact he ever took steroids."

But Canseco notes how Sosa's body changed more dramatically than Mark McGwire's before 1998, when those two had their historic home run race. "It seemed so obvious, it was a joke," Canseco writes about Sosa.

"No comment," Sosa's agent, Adam Katz, told the Daily News.

For Canseco, the book is less a confessional than an ode to steroids. He says he personally injected McGwire with steroids in a bathroom stall at the Oakland Coliseum when they were teammates with the Oakland Athletics.

He says he introduced Palmeiro, Rodriguez and Gonzalez to steroids and injected those substances with them after being traded from Oakland to Texas in 1992.

Canseco returned to Oakland for one season, in 1997, the year Tejada broke into the big leagues with that team.

"I started giving [Tejada] advice about steroids, and he seemed interested in what I was saying," Canseco says. Canseco goes on to write that he "can't say for sure" Tejada cheated, but says Tejada would have been justified in doing so.

Tejada's agents, Fernando Cuza and Diego Bentz, did not return calls last night.

Saunders, who signed a minor league contract with the Orioles last month in hopes of making a remarkable comeback, teamed with Canseco for about six weeks with Tampa Bay in 1999.

"What gets me," Saunders said, "is that he made it sound, from what other people told me today, that we were best friends, and he tried to console me. What a joke. Are you kidding me?"

Saunders, who pitched for the Florida Marlins in the 1997 World Series, said he was told Canseco intimated that Saunders gained weight before breaking his arm in 1999. Fifteen months later, Saunders tried making a comeback but fractured his left humerus bone again while delivering a pitch in a minor-league game.

"What about the second time when I broke it?" Saunders said. "I was 25 pounds less. What I went through in therapy and all the things I had to do to make my comeback? I was being tested all the time. There is no way that if I had been using the stuff he said I was using it wouldn't have been picked up."

As for Clemens, the seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Canseco picks his words carefully. He says he has never seen Clemens do steroids, but he says Clemens said he took "B-12 shots," and Canseco calls that clubhouse code for steroids. According to the Daily News, Canseco writes that he thought Clemens showed classic signs of steroid use, including a sudden improvement late in his career.

"Neither Roger nor I have seen the book, but any such suggestion is absurd on its face," Randy Hendricks, one of Clemens' agents, told the Daily News. "It's a wonder Canseco didn't name the pope, given he named President Bush.

"Roger has not taken any illegal drugs or substances. He has passed all tests and will continue to do so in 2005. In 2004, with stricter testing, he passed the tests and won a record seventh Cy Young Award."

With Bonds, who admitted in grand jury testimony that he unknowingly used steroids, Canseco doesn't mince words. He writes, "The simple fact is Barry Bonds was definitely using steroids."

With Boone, Canseco notes how the second baseman grew noticeably bigger before the 2001 season. Canseco says he asked Boone what he had done, and Boone said, "Shhh, don't tell anybody." Canseco figured Boone meant he was "part of the club."

Sun staff writer Pat O'Malley contributed to this article.

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