BALTIMORE, Feb. 7 -- Responding to accusations in Jose Canseco's upcoming book, Baltimore Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro on Monday denied that he used steroids and distanced himself from his former Texas Rangers teammate.
"I categorically deny any assertion made by Jose Canseco that I used steroids," Palmeiro said in a statement. "At no point in my career have I ever used steroids, let alone any substance banned by Major League Baseball. As I have never had a personal relationship with Canseco, any suggestion that he taught me anything, about steroid use or otherwise, is ludicrous.
"We were teammates and that was the extent of our relationship. I am saddened that he felt it necessary to attempt to tarnish my image and that of the game that I love."
The New York Daily News reported on Sunday that Canseco's upcoming book, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big," would implicate Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez as steroid users. The book, which the newspaper said was due to be published Feb. 21, also claims that Canseco personally injected Mark McGwire and Jason Giambi with steroids.
Palmeiro's inclusion is a surprise since his name had never been linked with performance-enhancing drugs. As a 23-year old in 1988, Palmeiro weighed 180 pounds. In 1994, he weighed 188 pounds. Last year at age 40, Palmeiro was listed at 214 pounds -- not a significant difference if one accounts for the affects of aging.
Perhaps Canseco's sole bit of evidence is to point to statistics. From 1988 to '92, Palmeiro averaged just 15.6 home runs per year. Since 1993, the season after Canseco arrived in Texas, Palmeiro has failed to hit 35 or more home runs only twice.
Last season, Palmeiro hit .258 with 23 home runs and 88 RBI.
Orioles owner Peter Angelos defended Palmeiro.
"The Orioles are solidly behind Rafael Palmeiro and have absolute confidence in him and in his denial of the Canseco story," Angelos said in a statement. "The Orioles will do everything we can to be of assistance to Raffy in meeting these allegations that have no foundation."
Angelos joined others in questioning Canseco's integrity and motivation in writing the book. "To suggest, as Canseco allegedly does, that President Bush, as the Texas Rangers managing partner in the early 1990s 'must have known about the steroid use on that team' is a desperate ploy to sell a book," Angelos said. "What credibility does such a person deserve?"
White House press secretary Scott McClellan said he spoke to Bush about his knowledge of steroid use in baseball. "If there was, he was not aware of it at the time," McClellan said.