Knuckleballer Canseco walks five, hits four in debut

Updated: August 17, 2006, 2:11 AM ET
Associated Press

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

Jeff Lewis/US PRESSWIRE Long Beach Armada pitcher Jose Canseco warms up before Wednesday's game against the Reno Silver Sox.
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 strikes.

"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."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press