Knuckleballer Canseco walks five, hits four in debut

8/17/2006 - MLB

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Jose Canseco's knuckleball was
uncontrollable -- and it made his debut as a starting pitcher pretty

The former American League MVP hit four batters and walked five
others in 4 1/3 innings for the Long Beach Armada on Wednesday
night. He also gave up a home run on a "flat knuckleball" and
recorded his first career strikeout during an 8-2 loss to the Reno
Silver Fox.

"Overall, it felt pretty good," said Canseco, who joined the
independent Golden Baseball League earlier this year. "It took me
a little while to get a rhythm out there, and I walked too many
guys. It should get better."

It's been 13 years since the 42-year-old pitched an inning for
the Texas Rangers in a blowout loss. He did pitch part of an inning
in the league's All-Star game in June.

Armada manager Darrell Evans said he saw Canseco's performance
in that game and was impressed that the former slugger was throwing

"That's the main thing," Evans said before Wednesday's game.
"You throw strikes with a knuckleball and sometimes they don't hit
it very good, so hopefully that will happen tonight."

Canseco, who has acknowledged using steroids in the past, is
scheduled to make another start Sunday at Yuma, Ariz.

"It's fun," said Canseco, who as a designated hitter is
batting just .169 with four home runs and nine RBI in 21 games
with Long Beach. "I take it serious out there when I'm in the
game. I try to do the best possible. I'd love to throw a shutout or
no-hitter or whatever. I'm a competitor."