TORONTO (AP) – A day after inserting earplugs to drown out fans, Rafael Palmeiro had second thoughts.

“Maybe it wasn’t the right thing to do. I’ve never been in a situation where I’m getting booed so badly and I just really don’t know how to handle it,” Palmeiro said Wednesday.

Palmeiro inserted earplugs after he was loudly booed during his first at-bat in the Baltimore Orioles’ 7-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.

He went 0-for-4, leaving him with two hits in 26 at-bats, an .077 average, since a 10-day suspension for testing positive for steroids.

“I’ve been booed before but obviously not this heavily,” he said. “It’s just hard to really focus when the whole the stadium is booing and yelling. I thought that would be a way to maybe try and block out some of the booing.”

Palmeiro struck out swinging in the first inning, popped out weakly to the pitcher in the fourth, lined out to first base in the sixth and took a called third strike in the eighth. His batting average has dropped from .280 at the time of his suspension to .266.

He added what appeared to be tape to one earplug, apparently to further drown out the boos.

It was just his second road game since returning from the suspension.

He said he didn’t know if he’d do it again. The Orioles head to Boston next.

“It’s been hard. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve survived it so far though,” Palmeiro said. “I’m dealing with it on a daily basis.”

Interim manager Sam Perlozzo thinks Palmeiro’s move might have backfired.

“It drew attention to it. It could possibly make it worse,” Perlozzo said.

Perlozzo won’t be playing Palmeiro in the near future. He said he wants to make sure the 40-year-old first baseman is healthy.

“He’s obviously not healthy yet. His knee is bothering him, his foot is bothering him,” Perlozzo said.

“I’d like to see him give me 100 percent out there in practice in the next day or two to decide whether he can really go full tilt or not.”

Until I find out how healthy he is I’m just going to give him some time. He can’t help us halfway.”

Palmeiro was Baltimore’s designated hitter on Tuesday night, a day after Perlozzo suggested he has lost his job as the regular first baseman.

AP-ES-08-31-05 1919EDT

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