CANSECO TALKS: Jose Canseco said yesterday that he will do everything he can to return to the team after back surgery, but conceded that retirement is an option he might have to consider.

"My body has failed me again," the Devil Rays designated hitter said during a telephone conference call from a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he had surgery Sunday to repair a herniated disk. "This to me is a nightmare with the year I'm having, the consistency I've had. . . . The timing couldn't be worse."

Canseco leads the AL with 31 homers and was voted the starting designated hitter for tonight's All-Star Game. He said surgery had eliminated the pain, but that it will be several weeks before the incision heals enough for rehabilitation.

OZZIE WAITS: Ozzie Smith, who is working 23 games this year as a Cardinals broadcaster, said he'll be interested in taking a more active role with the organization only when Tony La Russa is no longer the manager.

"My relationship with Tony isn't going to be mended," Smith said. "There's no way."

Smith's problems with La Russa stem from the 1996 season, when he was forced to split time at shortstop with Royce Clayton. Smith retired after the 1996 season.

"Tony just wasn't honest with me," Smith said.

SPENCER REHABS: Yankees OF Shane Spencer has been cleared to begin rehabilitation, one week after learning he had an irregular heartbeat. He was hospitalized and went on the DL on July 3, a day after he left a game because of dizziness.