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Canseco's Claims Keep on Ticking

His steroid accusations against McGwire on '60 Minutes' differ from what he says in his book.

February 11, 2005|Tim Brown | Times Staff Writer

Jose Canseco claims he personally injected steroids into Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez and Ivan Rodriguez in an interview to be aired on national television Sunday night.

On the first leg of a promotional tour for the book "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big," Canseco tells "60 Minutes" that it was routine for major league players to administer steroids in baseball clubhouses.

According to a partial transcript of the interview, Canseco told host Mike Wallace, "The first time injecting them in [McGwire's] buttocks, it wasn't like you gave it a lot of thought. It was something so common."

The players named by Canseco in the book, a list that also is said to include Jason Giambi, have denied using steroids, and Canseco apparently is hazy on the details. While he reportedly wrote, "I would often inject Mark," he told "60 Minutes," "I injected him probably twice."

Asked by Wallace about the inconsistency, Canseco said, "Well, I think it was more inject ourselves. I think I injected him -- I mean, this is a long time ago -- once or twice for sure. I didn't keep track."

As for Palmeiro, Rodriguez and Gonzalez, Canseco said, "I injected them. Absolutely."

Tony La Russa, McGwire's manager in Oakland and St. Louis, said Thursday he did not believe McGwire took steroids, and said Canseco was never close enough to McGwire to know.

Canseco, he said, simply hoped to tarnish McGwire's career.

"He didn't [care]," La Russa said. "He's actually told people, 'My career's in the toilet and I'm taking everybody with me.' "

La Russa said he spoke to McGwire several times this week, most recently Thursday morning, when he interrupted McGwire's workout.

"My sense is he's concerned, partly because it's affecting the perception of the career he had," he said. "With his former teammates, he's concerned they're going to be diminished, their careers. We felt like we had something special in those times [in Oakland]. He's expressed all of that. He's upset, personally, because what people think of him is important to him."

Meanwhile, McGwire's personal trainer for more than six years said that McGwire never used steroids under his watch, and that his gains in strength and size in the early 1990s came through weight training and over-the-counter supplements.

"As far as I know, Mark has never taken a steroid," John Villarreal said. "And he's never talked about taking steroids.

"I'm proud of training him and I don't want to be associated with that stuff. My reputation and my scope is small compared to all the national media and the insanity going on. But what I know is, Mark trained clean."

Villarreal met McGwire at a Walnut Creek, Calif., gym in 1992 and became both friend and trainer to the Oakland slugger. They trained together through 1997, when McGwire was traded to the Cardinals.

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