Time frame too tough to prove

MIAMI -- Jose Canseco was released from jail Monday after prosecutors dropped charges alleging the former baseball star violated his probation by taking steroids.

Assistant State Attorney Kathleen Hoague said the state could
not determine when Canseco took the muscle-enhancing drug because
of conflicting expert testimony on how long it would stay in his

Canseco had been behind bars since June 20, when probation
officials said he tested positive for steroids. He has denied any
drug use while on probation.

"It was a very painful, stressful situation for my daughter, my
family and myself,'' Canseco said Monday. "It feels good to be

Canseco, 39, could have faced up to 15 years in state prison.

The 1988 American League MVP has been on probation since
November, when he pleaded guilty to aggravated battery for a 2001
nightclub fight with two tourists. His probation is scheduled to
end in March 2004.

Canseco spent 30 days in jail and was sentenced to house arrest
earlier this year because he took a trip to California without
court permission and didn't meet other probation terms. He says he
made the trip because he wanted to reconcile with his ex-wife and
6-year-old daughter.

Canseco helped lead the Oakland Athletics to three straight
World Series appearances from 1988-90. Oakland won the 1989 series.

He hit 462 home runs in his major league career, the 26th-best
in history. He retired in May 2002 after 1,887 games with seven
teams, finishing his career with a .266 batting average, 1,407 RBI
and 200 stolen bases.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Canseco has admitted using steroids
during his baseball career.

Canseco's twin brother, Ozzie, who briefly played in the majors,
was also sentenced to probation stemming from the nightclub scuffle
in Miami Beach.