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Jose, can you see? Rays not interested

Jose Canseco says he'd return only to play for Tampa Bay. The attraction isn't mutual.

By TOM JONES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 17, 2003

If slugger Jose Canseco ever comes out of retirement to play again, there's only one team he would like to play for: the Devil Rays.

In fact, Canseco said he would play for the league minimum and donate his salary to charity to play for the Rays.

"I loved it there," Canseco said Monday in a telephone interview from his home in Davie. "I have nothing but great memories of Tampa Bay, and they could use me. They treated me with respect there.

"I've always had a good relationship with (Rays general manager) Chuck LaMar, and the fans there were tremendous. And I liked hitting in that stadium."

Canseco, who turns 39 next month, retired after a 17-year career in May 2002 with 462 homers. He played 174 games for the Rays in 1999 and 2000 with 33 homers, 125 RBIs and a .257 average.

It's doubtful, though, Canseco ever will return to the Rays.

"Jose's agent has called our organization over the last two years stating Jose's interest in coming back with the Devil Rays," LaMar said. "But we've told him continually we respected how Jose played for us when he was here, but we are heading in a different direction."

LaMar said the push is to play younger players and Canseco would not fit into those plans.

"Let's leave it at that," LaMar said.

These days, Canseco is under house arrest for his involvement in a 2001 nightclub brawl. He believes, though, he would receive permission from the courts to play.

While under house arrest, Canseco can't get to the outside world, so he's bringing the world to him. Monday was the first day of "Spend the Day with Jose," where people bid to spend time with the baseball celebrity at his home.

"We had a guy and his girlfriend come in and just hang out," Canseco said. "We did a little barbecue, hung out by the pool. It was great."

Canseco said he remains in great shape and hopes the Rays change their minds.

"I'd love to be back in Tampa Bay," Canseco said.

- Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report.

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