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Friday, March 18, 2005
Palmeiro very happy he appeared

Associated Press

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- After what he called a "surreal" day testifying before a congressional committee, Rafael Palmeiro returned to spring training Friday insisting his finger-pointing denial of steroid use came from the heart and that he is willing to forgive Jose Canseco.

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  • "If it turns out to be a positive thing that he wrote this stupid book, and he turns himself around and if he can be a positive role model, I'll forgive him," said Palmeiro, who played with Canseco on the Texas Rangers from 1992-93.

    Palmeiro was among the half-dozen current and former players who appeared before the House Committee on Government Reform, which is examining steroid use in baseball. Canseco's book accused the Baltimore Orioles star of using steroids.

    Palmeiro was emphatic in his denial of steroid use in his opening statement to the committee. He pointed his index finger at the panel, and said the gesture was spontaneous.

    "I was just speaking from the heart, man," he said. "I just wanted to make sure I got my point across and that I was sincere about it. I didn't plan on doing that. I was upset."

    Palmeiro, who tried to avoid testifying until issued a subpoena, said he appreciated the chance to speak publicly.

    Rafael Palmeiro
    First Base
    Baltimore Orioles
    154 23 88 68 2 .258

    "They brought me in basically to give me the chance to clear my name and to speak my heart. ... I'm very happy that I went," Palmeiro said after arriving at Fort Lauderdale Stadium for the Orioles' spring training game against Minnesota.

    Almost on cue, when Palmeiro had dressed and was ready to make his first post-testimony comments, the TV near his locker began blaring a report of Thursday's testimony in Washington. Palmeiro glanced at the TV, then described his day before federal legislators as "surreal."

    "After being there and seeing everybody's testimony, especially the parents of the kids who died, I think it's our obligation to take a stance against steroids and to make a positive out of this whole thing," he said.

    Canseco's "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits And How Baseball Got Big" implicated Palmeiro, Orioles teammate Sammy Sosa and former slugger Mark McGwire as steroid users. Sosa, who in Washington denied taking steroids, arrived at the ballpark later in the day but declined to answer questions about his testimony.

    "I'm upset because (Canseco) encouraged the use of steroids," Palmeiro said. "But in the end, he backed off of that and he basically took the stance that he's against it. So it all turned out good."