OAKLAND, Calif. -- Rafael Palmeiro believes he "soon" will
be able to explain himself and tell people why he tested positive
"My day will come when I can say what happened. As of right
now, I can't say anything. Hopefully soon," Palmeiro said Monday,
a day after the embattled Baltimore slugger returned to the lineup
following a 10-game suspension for violating Major League
Baseball's steroid policy.
He wasn't in the Orioles' starting lineup when the club began a
three-game series against the Oakland Athletics. On Sunday,
Palmeiro went 0-for-4 with a walk in his return at Camden Yards and
was both booed and cheered by the 30,954 fans. He hit a routine fly
ball to right in the ninth inning to end the game, stranding two
baserunners in a 7-6 loss to Toronto.
"The fans in Baltimore have been great to me. I thought for the
most part it was good," he said. "I heard some boos, but that's
understandable. Not everybody's going to cheer for me. It doesn't
matter what the circumstances are. There's always going to be
someone who's not going to understand the situation.
"No one likes to get booed, obviously. No matter where you're
playing, I think everyone likes to be accepted and cheered, but
that's part of what I'm going through right now. I just want to try
to get back to normal as much as I can and the routine of playing
baseball every day."
That might be difficult -- and Palmeiro realizes that -- since
he'll likely be asked to talk about the situation at the start of
every series in a new city.
The 40-year-old Palmeiro, suspended by the league Aug. 1, claims
he didn't know how the drug got in his body. He has not addressed
the topic since being activated Thursday, saying that his attorneys
advised him to hold off from commenting until Congress concludes
its investigation of his case.
He said he hasn't been following recent media reports
questioning whether he could truly unknowingly take steroids.
Palmeiro arrived on the late bus to the ballpark Monday, then
dressed quietly in his regular corner of the visitor's clubhouse.
Right now, he's focused on getting his timing back so he can be
productive -- "it's almost like spring training" -- and perhaps
find some semblance of normalcy again.
And he hopes some fans will stick with him despite an
unfortunate situation off the field that might diminish all his
accomplishments for good.
"I didn't know what to expect because I've never been
suspended, I've never been thrown out of a game," he said of the
mixed reception Sunday. "For the most part in my 20-year career,
I've come to the ballpark to play and I've never had to sit out for
any type of reason other than a day off. You always hope for the
best and you always hope people will accept you. That's all I can
do right now. ...
"You just have to block everything out and focus on what you
have to do to be successful."