WASHINGTON (AP) President Bush was not aware of any steroid use by Texas Rangers players while he was a team executive, the White House said Monday.
In his upcoming book, Jose Canseco said he introduced Rafael Palmeiro, Ivan Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez to steroids after being traded to Texas in 1992, the New York Daily News reported. Canseco said Bush, the Rangers' managing partner at the time, must have known about the drugs.
White House press secretary Scott McClellan said he spoke to Bush about alleged steroid use.
''If there was, he was not aware of it at the time,'' McClellan said.
''He has recognized, for some time now, that steroids is a growing problem in professional sports, particularly Major League Baseball,'' he said. ''That's why the president has made addressing the issue a priority in his administration.''
Canseco's book, ''Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big,'' is scheduled for release by Regan Books on Feb. 21. A company spokesman has said the date might be moved up.
Palmeiro, now playing for Baltimore, disputed Canseco's claim.
''I categorically deny any assertion made by Jose Canseco that I used steroids,'' Palmeiro said in a statement. ''At no point in my career have I ever used steroids, let alone any substance banned by Major League Baseball.
''As I have never had a personal relationship with Canseco, any suggestion that he taught me anything, about steroid use or otherwise, is ludicrous. We were teammates and that was the extent of our relationship. I am saddened that he felt it necessary to attempt to tarnish my image and that of the game I love.''
Gonzalez's agent, Alan Nero, said, ''Our immediate reaction is we feel sorry for Jose, that he felt he had to do this for whatever reason. And we feel badly for everyone he implicated in this.
''Juan has never used steroids and has never been in favor of their use. And, in fact, in 2000, when Major League Baseball did its survey, Juan was in favor of testing and was one of only two players that volunteered to be tested at that time,'' Nero said.
Rodriguez signed with Detroit last season. Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said the team had no comment on the report.
Canseco also claims he injected former Oakland teammate Mark McGwire with steroids. McGwire has denied using steroids.
''I have always told the truth and I am saddened I continue to face this line of questioning,'' McGwire told the Daily News.
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