LAREDO, TEXAS // Jose Canseco, the former All-Star who has been embroiled in controversy for several years over his allegations of widespread steroid use, returned to baseball in impressive fashion on Monday night. The 46-year-old hit a home run in the first at-bat for the Laredo Broncos of the United League Baseball, a low-level independent league. "My first step was getting back into the game, in whatever way, shape and form," Canseco said.
"I don't know how I'll perform physically, since I'm 46 and haven't played at this level in a long time. We'll see what happens." Canseco signed with the team last week as a designated hitter, bench coach and part-time pitcher. He was a central figure in baseball's steroid era as he named names and detailed steroid use around major league baseball in two memoirs. In one, he admitted using steroids and claimed that up to 85 percent of players also did.
Canseco hit 462 home runs in 17 major league seasons. He was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1986 and Most Valuable Player in 1988, after he hit 42 home runs and stole 40 bases. Byron Pierce, the president of the United Baseball League, said signing Canseco was "one of the highlights of our league". "This isn't something that happens every day," he said. "It's a long way from Major League Baseball to the United League, but we're happier than heck to have him here."
Since retiring from baseball in 2002, Canseco has done guest spots on television shows and flirted with boxing and mixed martial arts as he tried to resurrect his career. He said on Monday that he feels "completely severed" from baseball since writing his tell-all books on the sport. * Associated Press