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Question of the Day
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Former New York Yankee Randy Velarde testified Wednesday that he purchased human growth hormone from Barry Bonds‘ personal trainer throughout the 2002 season, making him the fourth major leaguer to admit drug use during Bonds‘ perjury trial.
The 48-year-old Velarde was the latest athlete to testify about his desire to work with Anderson because of his connection to Bonds, the home-run king who experienced a surge in hitting power after he teamed up with the trainer.
Several more former baseball players are expected to talk about their link to Anderson at the trial, now in its second week. Anderson himself is in jail on contempt of court charges for refusing to testify.
Velarde, who hit 100 home runs and batted .276 over a 16-year career, spent less than 15 minutes on the witness stand and testified that he never took two designer steroids that prosecutors allege Bonds knowingly used after getting them from Anderson.
Prosecutors hope to use the players’ testimony to undercut Bonds‘ position that Anderson duped him into unknowingly using designer steroids. None of the players on the prosecution witness, except for former Giants catcher Bobby Estalella, were expected to directly testify about Bonds.
Prosecutors said in a court filing before the trial started March 21 that Estalella will “testify that the defendant admitted using performance-enhancing drugs, as well as their effects, and that they had several discussions regarding that topic.”
Also on the government’s witness list: former Bonds teammates Armando Rios and Benito Santiago.
Colorado Rockies first baseman Jason Giambi and his brother, former major leaguer Jeremy Giambi, testified Tuesday about their relationship with Anderson and gave similar accounts of their relationship with him. They said that before the 2003 season Anderson supplied them with steroids designed to evade Major League Baseball’s plan to test players for steroids that season.
Bonds, the major league record-holder for home runs in a career (762) and a season (73), has pleaded not guilty to four charges that he lied to a grand jury when he denied knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs. He also pleaded not guilty to a charge of obstruction.
The parade of players to the witness stand was interrupted after Velarde’s testimony.
Prosecutors turned their focus to tedious but legally necessary task of proving that urine samples Bonds‘ supplied to Major League Baseball testers in 2003 were genuine and were properly handled. Prosecutors allege those samples tested positive for the “clear.”
Two IRS agents who handled the samples after they were seized from Quest Laboratories and three University of California, Los Angeles, lab workers each took the stand Wednesday morning.
By Michael P. Orsi
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