If Tim Tebow is looking for a personal coach to aid his aspiring baseball career, Jose Canseco is ready.
Canseco, the former A’s outfielder on hand at the Coliseum for his bobblehead giveaway Saturday, told reporters before the A’s played the Red Sox that if Tebow, the former NFL quarterback, wants his help trying to make it as a baseball player, Canseco is available.
“I want to help him out,” Canseco said. “I want to work with him. I want to teach him the art of power hitting, the psychology behind the game – because I have a lot of experience in that.”
Canseco won the 1986 American League Rookie of the Year and 1988 A.L. MVP playing for Oakland and finished his 17-season career – during which he has admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs – with 462 home runs, tied for 35th all-time.
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After Tebow held a workout for major-league scouts last week at USC, Canseco wrote on Twitter: “Hey Timmy @timtebow lets do a home run derby to see what got.” He said Saturday that Tebow had yet to respond.
“I kind of put an open challenge to him – if I beat you in a home run derby, you have to let me train you,” Canseco said. “So I’m hoping he calls me and we do a home run derby together.”
Canseco, 52, who still plays occasional independent-league baseball, said he watched the video of Tebow’s workout and thought the former quarterback “looked like he had pretty good hand speed” in batting practice. Scouts in attendance, meanwhile, reportedly were not overly impressed by Tebow’s defensive work or arm strength in the outfield.
“There’s below-average outfielders playing everywhere,” Canseco said. “I was a below-average outfielder and I played out there. I believe he can make it. I believe he just has to get some at-bats. He has to get a start somewhere. I believe he has the ability.”
As for his own appearance Saturday, Canseco received a tepid round of applause from fans at the Coliseum when he walked to the mound to throw out the first pitch. The A’s handed out 15,000 bobblehead dolls commemorating Canseco’s rookie season 30 years ago.
“It’s pretty accurate,” Canseco said. “It looks like the pre-Steroid Era bobblehead though. It’s got me kind of skinny.”