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JOSE CANSECO'S BOOK Grieve cited for not using steroids



Published: Wed, February 23, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



In the book, Canseco wrote Grieve could have benefited from steroids and growth hormone.

BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) -- Ben Grieve said he was surprised to find his name mentioned in Jose Canseco's book that details alleged steroid use in baseball.

Unlike several major-leaguers, Grieve was not accused of having used illegal substances in Canseco's book, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big," which was released Feb. 14.

On the contrary, Canseco devoted a page to Grieve using him as an example of a young player whose career would have benefited from steroid use.

"Let me tell you, Ben Grieve is a kid who needed to take steroids," Canseco wrote. "He had a slow bat, slow feet and average ability. I could have taken Grieve and turned him into a stud. He would have been the perfect kid to benefit from the combination of steroids and growth hormone."

Asked about Canseco's book Tuesday after he reported to spring training with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Grieve said he never was pressured to take steroids.

"Jose said if he worked with me for four months, he could have made me into the next Mark McGwire," Grieve said. "But he never even approached me."

After pausing, Grieve laughed and said, "Or else I probably might have done it."

Grieve and Canseco played one season together for the Oakland Athletics in 1997.

No temptation

Grieve said he never has been tempted to use steroids even though his batting numbers have sagged since leaving Oakland after the 2000 season.

"I'm sure Jose will tell you there are no side effects if you use them the right way, but I don't buy into that," Grieve said. "They can't be good for your body. When I was coming up, I was having success without them. I never really thought I needed them."

Grieve was the American League Rookie of the Year with the A's in 1998 and hit 55 homers and had 190 RBIs over the next two seasons. When he joined Tampa Bay in 2001, Grieve batted .264, .251 and .230 in three seasons, combining for 34 homers and 153 RBIs.

After being a role player for the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs last season, Grieve signed a minor-league contract with the Pirates in January and is in camp as a non-roster player.

"If I took [steroids], there's no doubt they would have helped me," Grieve said. "But I don't like the risk that's involved in the whole thing."

Grieve said he didn't expect that Canseco would mention him for being clean. He read the passage when he stopped in a bookstore while traveling from Dallas to Bradenton for spring training.

With the Pirates, Grieve will compete for a spot on a team overloaded with outfielders. Aside from Grieve, the Pirates have five veterans in camp and general manager Dave Littlefield is trying to trade for a sixth.

"It makes sense to look at him and see if he can make our club better," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Why he hasn't put up the numbers he did in the past, I don't have those answers."




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