LAREDO, Texas » Jose Canseco has signed a contract with an independent minor league team in south Texas.
The 46-year-old Canseco, a central figure in baseball’s steroid era, was introduced yesterday as a member of the Laredo Broncos — one of six teams in the United Baseball League.
Canseco says he’ll play designated hitter, serve as a bench coach and pitch for the team. He’ll play in Laredo’s remaining six home games this season.
The former slugger 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 AL Rookie of the Year in 1986 and MVP in 1988, after he hit 42 home runs and stole 40 bases.
"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."
Byron Pierce, the UBL president, said luring 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. He said yesterday that he feels "completely severed" from baseball since writing the tell-all books.
When the Broncos open an eight-game road trip on Thursday, Canseco says, he’ll stay in Laredo and host youth baseball camps. He also said he’ll continue to work on a reality TV show that is still in its first stages.
"I think age, time, environment, situations — things that happen in your life, they constantly change you," Canseco said. "I’m constantly growing, changing, adapting, and hopefully it’s for the better."