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Canseco's new book lacks substance

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  March 25, 2008 06:52 PM

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - I asked Yankees star Alex Rodriguez last week in Tampa if he was worried about being mentioned in Jose Canseco's new book, "Vindicated." He said, "No, not at all." Now we know why.

We also understand why respected author Don Yaeger dropped the project, believing Canseco had very little to say and very little evidence to back up claims in his sequel to "Juiced."

Freelance writer Joe Lavin wrote in his blog - joelavin.com - that he stumbled across the book at a Cambridge book store (several days before its April 1 release), and he wrote about the contents. It appears A-Rod is right, there is nothing to worry about.

Canseco writes about steering A-Rod toward a steroids dealer but has no proof that Rodriguez ever took steroids. Certainly A-Rod does not appear in the Mitchell Report and has not, to anyone's knowledge, ever failed a drug test. Canseco does say he injected Magglio Ordonez with steroids when they were teammates with the White Sox in 2001. The New York Times reported that Canseco had told Ordonez he would leave him out of his book if he funded a movie project. Canseco said this isn't true, and while Ordonez contends it was, the Tigers slugger did not file a formal complaint with the FBI.

Canseco is about to embark on a tour to promote the book soon. While the first book seemed credible and somewhat shocking, this one lacks the meat needed to make the charges significant.

Scott Boras, who represents both Ordonez and Rodriguez, wanted to stay as far away from this issue as possible so not to give the book or the charges any credence. He essentially gave a "no comment" and added, "I think in a case like this it's best served to ask the parties involved."

Lavin indicated the "evidence against Roger Clemens is somewhat flimsy, and Canseco even admits that he's not completely sure that Clemens used steroids. After a home run, Clemens would just make jokes like, "Man, you must have had your juice this morning!" Other times, he would say that he was off to take his "B-12 shots," which, Canseco says, is how players often refer to steroids. He does later state that Clemens did not attend the much-discussed barbecue at Canseco's house that was mentioned in the Mitchell Report."

Canseco also writes that his suspicions about Clemens were "edited out" of his book, but he contends:

"Roger Clemens was from Texas. He went to play for the Astros, to be close to his family. George W. Bush, a former owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team, is, like Clemens, a proud Texan. Clemens is a personal friend of Bush Sr. and his wife, Barbara. Clemens still has a standing invitation from Bush Jr. to visit the White House anytime. Getting the picture? Maybe the president of the United States, or his daddy, the ex-president, made some calls and took care of things for good ole Roger."

Canseco also writes that the Mitchell Report had "pro-Red Sox" bias because there weren't current big name Red Sox players named (Eric Gagne went to Milwaukee and Brendan Donnelly was released).

Canseco reiterates that Clemens was not at the infamous barbecue at his Weston, Fla. home in 1998 when Clemens supposedly first spoke to personal trainer Brian McNamee about steroids. That fact is in dispute. It's one of the things federal prosecutors want to talk to Canseco about - and his relationship with Clemens - sometime next week.

When asked about the book by New York reporters in Florida today, A-Rod said, "I really, absolutely, have no reaction." When told that Canseco had said that A-Rod, then single, had a romantic interest in Canseco's ex-wife, Jessica, and that A-Rod would "ogle" her when he was working out with Canseco at his house, A-Rod said, "I don't know how to answer that."

Good answer.

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