Palmeiro serious about potential comeback

January 6th, 2018

At the ripe young age of 53, slugger Rafael Palmeiro is serious about his bid to return to Major League Baseball.

In December, Palmeiro told MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in an interview with The Athletic that he was considering an attempt to return to the big leagues.

"There's no doubt in my mind I can do it," Palmeiro said. "I've taken care of myself really well. I've been working out for years. Everything feels better than when I played."

On Friday, Palmeiro tweeted out a video of himself in an indoor batting cage.

Palmeiro, who played 20 seasons, retired as one of just four players to amass 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. He was a four-time All-Star with the Cubs, Rangers and Orioles while also earning three consecutive Gold Glove Awards at first base from 1997-99. Palmeiro's career was not without controversy, as he was suspended from baseball in 2005 after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Palmeiro weighed 195 pounds as of last month, per Rosenthal, which is 20 pounds below his listed weight when he retired. At 53, he would be the oldest position player to see regular playing time -- four years older than Julio Franco when he played past his 49th birthday for the Mets and Braves in 2007.

"He has less body fat than me and my brother," Palmeiro's son, Patrick, a player in the independent Atlantic League, told The Athletic. "He sees me and my brother working hard, getting ourselves ready. He wants to try and keep up with us."

Palmeiro's comeback chances depend entirely on whether he can display the skills that routinely ranked him among the game's best hitters in his prime. While there were mixed reactions to Palmeiro from team front office executives polled by Rosenthal, not everyone is ruling out the slugger's comeback.

"It would be an interesting story," Orioles general manager Dan Duquette told The Athletic. "It's like tying your shoes ... If you can hit, then you can hit."