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Canseco, Mitchell Rehabbing in Pawtucket

May 8, 1996

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (AP) _ For Jose Canseco, the ``K″ in Pawtucket still stands for strikeout. Unlike last year, though, he couldn’t accuse fans of denting his sport truck when he left cozy McCoy Stadium.

That’s because he rode in a black stretch limousine with tinted windows. And he brought burly Kevin Mitchell, his fellow rehabilitating slugger, with him.

``It’s pretty nice,″ Canseco said of the limo as he laughed before Tuesday night’s 6-3 loss to the Ottawa Lynx. ``I was able to do some reading.″

Asked if he would have preferred not to return to the scene of last year’s commotion, he said, ``no comment.″

In another two-game rehabilitation assignment with the Pawtucket Red Sox last June, Canseco was booed when he went 1-for-6 with five strikeouts, then moaned that fans had rocked and damaged his truck. His story never was verified.

He started a two-game rehab stint Tuesday night with the International League team and struck out in his first and last at bats and went 1-for-4. He was cheered loudly before his first trip to the plate and booed after his last.

Canseco, earning $4.5 million this season, and Mitchell, getting $3,000 per big-league at bat in addition to a relatively small base salary, were expected to provide power in the middle of Boston’s lineup.

Instead, the former most valuable players are spending their last days on the disabled list in a small ballpark with ads on the walls and a youth soccer practice going on behind the right field fence.

Both were expected to play Wednesday afternoon against Ottawa before flying to Milwaukee in time for Boston’s night game.

Mitchell, who had a strained left hamstring, went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and is eligible to come off the disabled list Wednesday. He said he was sore but would be ready to play.

Canseco, recovered from a hip flexor, will be eligible Thursday.

``My hip was fine,″ he said. ``Whether I had struck out four times or hit four homers, the most important thing is my hip was fine.″

The surprisingly small crowd of 3,490 _ considering the presence of Canseco and Mitchell _ was tolerant. It didn’t boo Mitchell in the first when he halfheartedly let a fly ball drop, then bobbled a ball that went for a double.

``Stuff like this doesn’t motivate me anymore,″ he said of the rehab assignment.

The fans cheered both when they came to bat in the bottom of the inning and didn’t boo when Canseco, the designated hitter, fanned on a full count.

Canseco, Boston’s designated hitter last year, could have had a tougher night but he didn’t have to play the field, although he was under the impression that he would.

``I play left today and you play right,″ he said as he passed Mitchell before the game ``Put a tent on that circus. The fans will have some fun with us.″

His presence Tuesday night drew a large contingent from the Boston media who wanted to know about last year’s visit.

``I really haven’t given it much thought,″ Canseco said. ``I guess the media brings it up and emphasizes it more than anything. I’m just here to get my work in. That’s it.″

In his second at bat in the fourth, Mitchell became Ugueth Urbina’s seventh strikeout victim on a pitch that seemed outside.

``Who is he? I don’t know who it is,″ Mitchell said. ``I didn’t even know that was the Expos (farm team). I thought it was the White Sox.″

Canseco said it made sense for him to return to Pawtucket.

``It was best for everyone involved,″ he said, ``the organization, the fact that I need a couple of rehab days and the weather here was supposed to be nice, so I ended up down here.″

And, with the limo waiting to take him away after a two-strikeout game, he wasn’t worried about the fan reaction.

``Actually, I don’t even know if it’s out there,″ Canseco joked. ``I may have to get a ride with some of the fans.″

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