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Rafael Palmeiro, 53, wants an MLB opportunity to prove the innocence of PED

Rafael Palmeiro is nine years older than Aaron Boone, but is ready to return to the big leagues.

Not as a coach or coach, but as a 53-year-old player.

Palmeiro told El Atlético he believes he can still play in the big leagues, despite not being in a batting box at that level in 12 years.

"I have no doubt that I can do it," Palmeiro told Athletic. "I took good care of myself, I've been working for years, everything feels better than when I played."

Palmeiro finished his career with 569 homers and 3,020 hits. Those are clamorous numbers for a place for the Hall of Fame, but it has not been close to getting 75 percent of the votes needed for induction.

That's completely because Palmeiro has been labeled as a steroid user, something he has flatly denied. He famously spoke at a congressional hearing in March 2005 and, under oath, denied using them.

"Let me start by saying this: I've never used steroids, period," said Palmeiro. "I do not know how to say it more clearly than that, never."

He was suspended during the 2005 season after testing positive, although he continued to deny having taken a banned substance.

"Maybe 12 years later, if I can go back and show that I do not need anything like an older player with an older body, then people might think, OK, maybe they did not do anything intentionally," he told The Athletic

Palmeiro is not interested in playing abroad or for an independent league team to prove that he is worthy of an opportunity with an MLB team. He just wants an opportunity to go to spring training.

"If I go to spring training with a legitimate opportunity to form the team, I will not have to go to the minors," said Palmeiro.

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