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Canseco wants immunity before testifying for House committee

Associated Press

Jose Canseco is willing to tell all before a congressional committee looking into steroids in baseball, but first he wants assurances he won’t get in trouble for what he says.

Canseco asked Thursday for immunity if he’s to testify fully, but a spokesman for the lawmaker who will chair the proceeding offered no promises. Canseco is among seven players summoned to appear at Thursday’s hearing of the House Government Reform Committee.

Another House panel held the first of what it said could be a series of hearings on the subject, with several congressmen chastising baseball for what one called its “extremely weak” drug-testing program. The subcommittee chairman said all major U.S. sports leagues should work toward uniform steroid penalties.

Canseco, the 1988 American League MVP, has admitted using performance-enhancing drugs and his best-selling book accuses several stars of steroid use.

“We’ve asked for immunity,” said Canseco’s lawyer, Robert Saunooke. “We hope they give it to us. We’re still going to show up even if we have no immunity and offer whatever testimony we can that does not expose Jose to legal liability.”

Wood travels back to Chicago

Chicago Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood returned to Chicago to have his right shoulder examined.

Wood felt tightness in his pitching shoulder on Wednesday and left a spring training game before the third inning. He had an MRI exam before heading to Chicago, Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.

Slated to be the Cubs’ opening-day starter, Wood might miss a scheduled spring-training start.

Bay saves diving for real season

Jason Bay still plans to dive for balls in left field. He just doesn’t plan to do it again this spring.

The National League Rookie of the Year said he learned his lesson after bruising a bone in his left wrist this week while trying to make a diving catch during a Pittsburgh exhibition game. General manager Dave Littlefield and manager Lloyd McClendon told Bay, who will miss at least a week of spring training games, to save the diving for the regular season.

“I realize I shouldn’t be diving around like that,” Bay, the former Gonzaga University and North Idaho College player said. “I can’t be doing that down here. Sometimes you just can’t help it. You’re running to the ball, see it and your instincts take over, so you dive. But I understand what they’re saying and should back off.”

Griffey back in lineup for Reds

With his sweet, familiar stroke, Cincinnati’s Ken Griffey Jr. hit a sharp liner directly into first baseman Carlos Pena’s glove in his first at-bat of the year.

Griffey, 35, has been sidelined by serious injuries each of the last four seasons. He had surgery last Aug. 16 to reattach his torn right hamstring.

In his second and last at-bat of the Reds’ 4-3 win over the Tigers, Griffey walked. He trotted to second on Adam Dunn’s single.

Ponson gets work visa

Sidney Ponson may now pitch again in front of a paying audience.

The Baltimore right-hander obtained a U.S. work visa that will allow him to appear in spring training games.

Ponson, who traveled to the U.S. embassy in the Dominican Republic, is to rejoin the Orioles today and will make his first exhibition season appearance Saturday against Los Angeles. He was scratched from his first scheduled appearance Monday because of visa problems associated with his court case in Aruba.

Ponson returned to Aruba on March 3 – the day the Orioles opened their exhibition schedule – to stand trial on assault charges stemming from a Christmas Day brawl in his homeland. He is accused of hitting an Arbuan judge in the face after several people on a beach told the pitcher that he was harassing people with his personal watercraft.

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