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Saturday, February 12, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Mariners

Canseco implies Boone used steroids

Seattle Times staff reporters

Jose Canseco's tell-all book strongly implies that Mariners second baseman Bret Boone used steroids in 2001, according to an excerpt of the book, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big," that was read yesterday to The Seattle Times.

Reached by The Times, Boone called Canseco's allegations "absolutely ridiculous."

In another development yesterday involving a Mariners player, it was revealed that newly signed first baseman Richie Sexson was stopped recently in Vancouver, Wash., for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Sexson pleaded not guilty Wednesday to that charge and another for failure to register his vehicle.

Canseco's book, which has drawn national headlines for steroids allegations involving Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro, among others, won't be released to the public until Monday.

But copies began being delivered yesterday to booksellers. The portion involving Boone is in Chapter 24, titled "Did He or Didn't He?" Canseco relates an incident during a spring-training game in 2001 between the Mariners, who had just signed Boone to a free-agent contract, and Canseco's Anaheim Angels.

"I hit a double, and when I got out there to second base, I got a good look at Boone," Canseco writes. "I couldn't believe my eyes. He was enormous.

" 'Oh, my God,' I said to him. 'What have you been doing?'

" 'Shhh,' he said. 'Don't tell anybody.'

"Whispers like that were a sign that you were part of the club — the bond of a secret code or handshake. You were united by the shared knowledge and the experience of unlocking so much more of your body's natural potential. Still, though, sometimes you just had to laugh — and it was that way with Bret Boone. Sure enough, Bret used his hulking new body to go crazy that season."

Boone was an MVP candidate in 2001 with a .331 average, 37 homers and 141 runs batted in — all career highs.

Responding to Canseco's version of the incident, Boone said, "I don't know him. He doesn't know me. I don't think I've ever exchanged more than two, three words with him. The whole thing is absolutely ridiculous. End of story. I'm not going to comment beyond that. It's so ridiculous. That incident he writes about in the book is false. The most I've ever said to him is, 'What's up, Jose?' "

Mariners spokesman Tim Hevly said, "We have no comment on anything in Jose Canseco's book."

A check of spring-training records from 2001 shows that Canseco batted four times against the Mariners and didn't have any doubles. He reached base once, and it was not clear if he advanced to second.

In the book, Canseco also criticizes Seattle reporters for overlooking the reasons for Boone's transformation. Though he never uses the words "steroids," Canseco writes, "The amazing thing was how obvious it was: All they had to do was open their eyes and take a look at this little guy, with his small frame and his huge arms — arms that were bigger than mine! His great season that year just goes to show you how a new set of muscles can help an athlete."

Sexson faces charges

Sexson was stopped by police in Vancouver on Feb. 5, according to a Clark County police report.

Sexson pleaded not guilty to both charges in Clark County District Court on Wednesday. His next appearance is scheduled for March 15.

Sexson was stopped by Deputy Greg Chaney at about 5:50 p.m. According to a report by KING-TV and KGW-TV of Portland, Chaney said he initially stopped Sexson for speeding "like a bat out of hell." The deputy estimated Sexson's speed in excess of 50 mph in a 35 mph zone.

Neither Chaney nor Sexson returned calls seeking comment.

"It is our understanding Richie was originally stopped for driving over the speed limit," the M's said in a statement. "He took and passed two Breathalyzer tests. We are not in a position to make any other comment ... as we wait for the process to play itself out."

The deputy's report, obtained by KGW, said Sexson said he was in a hurry to get from his Vancouver-area home to a Portland Trail Blazers game. He also produced a registration for a Hummer but not for the Mercedes he was driving, the report said.

The report said Sexson refused to take a portable Breathalyzer test at the scene and failed a series of field sobriety tests. An hour later, Sexson took a breath test at the sheriff's office. The "breath test was completed with results of .069 and .070 as it appeared Sexson's level of intoxication was rising," according to the report.

Times staff reporter Bob Finnigan contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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