Hicks: Gonzalez's injuries and early retirement suspicious

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks suspects
that two-time AL MVP Juan Gonzalez may have used steroids.

His number of injuries and early retirement just makes me suspicious. In any event, we paid him $24 million for very few games.

Rangers owner Tom Hicks

"I have no knowledge that Juan used steroids. His number of
injuries and early retirement just makes me suspicious," Hicks
wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Wednesday. "In any
event, we paid him $24 million for very few games."

Hicks was responding to questions about a television interview
in which he was asked about decisions he regretted since owning the
team, then mentioned the oft-injured outfielder and steroids.

"Juan Gonzalez for $24 million after he came off steroids,
probably, we just gave that money away," Hicks said in the
interview, aired June 10 on KTVT-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Gonzalez had three extended stays on the disabled list when he
returned to the Rangers for the 2002 and 2003 seasons. Sidelined by
a torn ligament in his right thumb and a right calf injury, he played
in only 152 of 324 games, hitting .288 with 32 homers and 105 RBIs.

"That kind of rhetoric does not deserve a response, because it's
so irresponsible," said Gonzalez's agent, Al Nero.

The Dallas Morning News, citing Major League Baseball officials, said Hicks isn't likely to be subjected to discipline from commissioner Bud Selig. Hicks said he made Selig aware of his comments and that Selig had no issues with them.

Jose Canseco, who played with Gonzalez and the Rangers in
1992-94 before Hicks owned the team, has admitted using steroids.
Canseco claimed in his 2005 book that he used steroids with
Gonzalez, who was 35 when he played his last major league game and
tore his hamstring in his only at-bat for Cleveland in 2005.

Gonzalez, who had 434 home runs, was the AL MVP in 1996 and 1998
for Texas. He was the centerpiece of a nine-player trade that sent
him to Detroit after the 1999 season following the Rangers' third
AL West title in four seasons.

After only one season with the Tigers and a year in Cleveland,
Gonzalez signed a $24 million, two-year free-agent deal to return
to Texas, the team that had originally signed him as a 16-year-old
free agent out of Puerto Rico.

Back problems limited Gonzalez to 33 games in 2004 after a $4
million deal with Kansas City.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.