Canseco agrees to deal with independent Surf Dawgs

Updated: June 29, 2006, 11:36 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

SAN DIEGO -- Jose Canseco returned to baseball Thursday when he agreed to a contract with the independent San Diego Surf Dawgs, planning to be their designated hitter and -- get this -- pitch.

The Golden Baseball League announced the deal Thursday night, saying the former AL MVP and Rookie of the Year will make his Surf Dawgs debut Monday night on the road against the Chico Outlaws.

Canseco will make his debut at 10:05 ET on July 3.

Canseco's return to baseball comes some 19 months after he attracted Congress' attention with an autobiography, "Juiced," that accused several top players of steroid use.

In March 2005, he testified before the House Government Reform committee that he used performance-enhancing drugs as a player.

Canseco didn't immediately return a message left on his cell phone.

The news release announcing the deal said Canseco will be the DH "and will showcase his knuckleball as a member of the team's pitching staff."

Canseco made one big league pitching appearance, working the final inning for the Texas Rangers in a 15-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox on May 29, 1993. He walked the bases loaded and allowed three runs and two hits. He threw 12 strikes and 21 balls, most of which were far from the strike zone.

Canseco will be playing for the league maximum of $2,500 per month.

"We strive to provide a high quality entertainment product, and Jose will undoubtedly be entertaining for our fans," GBL president Amit Patel said in a statement.

The GBL is essentially baseball's lowest rung. Rickey Henderson played for the Surf Dawgs last year as he tried to attract the attention of a big league team.

Canseco hasn't played in the big leagues since 2001 with the Chicago White Sox, who purchased his contract from the independent Newark Bears.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.