Palmeiro very happy he appeared

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- After what he called a "surreal"
day testifying before a congressional committee, Rafael Palmeiro
returned to spring training Friday insisting his finger-pointing
denial of steroid use came from the heart and that he is willing to
forgive Jose Canseco.

"If it turns out to be a positive thing that he wrote this
stupid book, and he turns himself around and if he can be a
positive role model, I'll forgive him," said Palmeiro, who played
with Canseco on the Texas Rangers from 1992-93.

Palmeiro was among the half-dozen current and former players who
appeared before the House Committee on Government Reform, which is
examining steroid use in baseball. Canseco's book accused the
Baltimore Orioles star of using steroids.

Palmeiro was emphatic in his denial of steroid use in his
opening statement to the committee. He pointed his index finger at
the panel, and said the gesture was spontaneous.

"I was just speaking from the heart, man," he said. "I just
wanted to make sure I got my point across and that I was sincere
about it. I didn't plan on doing that. I was upset."

Palmeiro, who tried to avoid testifying until issued a subpoena,
said he appreciated the chance to speak publicly.

"They brought me in basically to give me the chance to clear my
name and to speak my heart. ... I'm very happy that I went,"
Palmeiro said after arriving at Fort Lauderdale Stadium for the
Orioles' spring training game against Minnesota.

Almost on cue, when Palmeiro had dressed and was ready to make
his first post-testimony comments, the TV near his locker began
blaring a report of Thursday's testimony in Washington. Palmeiro
glanced at the TV, then described his day before federal
legislators as "surreal."

"After being there and seeing everybody's testimony, especially
the parents of the kids who died, I think it's our obligation to
take a stance against steroids and to make a positive out of this
whole thing," he said.

Canseco's "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits And
How Baseball Got Big" implicated Palmeiro, Orioles teammate Sammy
Sosa and former slugger Mark McGwire as steroid users. Sosa, who in
Washington denied taking steroids, arrived at the ballpark later in
the day but declined to answer questions about his testimony.

"I'm upset because (Canseco) encouraged the use of steroids,"
Palmeiro said. "But in the end, he backed off of that and he
basically took the stance that he's against it. So it all turned
out good."