Pete Rose says he took"greenies"in his playing days, if only to lose a few pounds. Oh, and he doesn't bet on baseball anymore, but if he did, he'd pick the Twins and the Padres.

In an appearance on the"Late Show"taped Monday, Rose was asked by host David Letterman whether he ever used any performance-enhancing drugs as a player. Rose said he never did, but when prodded about"greenies,"explained that he used them _ though they were nothing more than"diet pills."

"Well, I don't think greenies would ever help you do anything,"he said."You know, I took greenies before in spring training only because I tried to lose some weight, see."

Letterman then asked whether the pills ever helped him ward off fatigue.

"No, not like steroids,"Rose replied."If I took steroids, I'd have gotten 5,000 damn hits."

Neither Letterman nor Rose used the word"amphetamines,"which were commonly nicknamed"greenies"at the height of their supposed popularity in baseball. The sport added amphetamines to its list of banned substances last year.

Rose said he still enjoys watching baseball _ as many as three games a day _ and still holds out hope that he'll be reinstated. Letterman asked Rose who he likes in this year's playoffs.

"You sound like you're betting on baseball,"Rose said, drawing laughter and applause."You know, baseball's going to hate me _ the two teams I like are San Diego and Minnesota. And I liked the Yankees until they lost Randy Johnson, I liked the Mets, who've had a fantastic year, until they lost (Pedro) Martinez. St. Louis is going into the playoffs playing as bad as you could play. Detroit, I don't think they have the experience."

He added that he can't bet on baseball anymore"because I know too damn much about it."

"It wouldn't be fair,"he said.

Rose, the career hits leader banned from baseball for betting on games as a manager, also explained the story behind the balls he signed with the words"I'm sorry I bet on baseball"that hit the market last month.

He said he signed the balls in 2005 for a friend who planned to keep them for 10 or 15 years. But the friend passed them on to a partner, and they wound up in the hands of a collector who put them up for auction _ prompting Rose to sign and market his own apology balls.

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