A former infielder for the Oakland A’s and New York Yankees testified today that Barry Bonds’ trainer sold him banned drugs and gave him injections before and during baseball’s 2002 season.
Randy Velarde was the fourth – and last – baseball player to testify for the government in Bonds’ trial on charges of lying under oath in 2003 to the grand jury that investigated the BALCO sports steroid scandal.
Like the other three players called to the witness stand, Velarde said he got drugs from Greg Anderson, Bonds’ boyhood friend and weight trainer.
The trainer sold him perhaps $800 worth of human growth hormone and an unknown injectable substance, Velarde said. The injectable stuff provided him more endurance and strength, Velarde testified. He said Anderson met him in parking lots and gave him the injections.
The other three players who testified for the government were Colorado Rockies infielder Jason Giambi, former A’s utility man Jeremy Giambi and former Giants outfielder Marvin Benard.
Like those earlier witnesses, Velarde gave no indication that he had ever discussed banned drugs with Bonds.
Later Wednesday, prosecutor Matthew Parrella told federal Judge Susan Illston that he intended to wrap up his case without calling three other former Giants who also had been on the government’s witness list. They were former outfielder Armando Rios, and former catchers Benito Santiago and Bobby Estalella.
Those players, now retired, had told investigators that they also got banned drugs from Anderson, according to court records. In addition, Estalella had told investigators that Bonds had once confided that he too was using banned drugs, the records show.
The prosecutor didn’t indicate why the witnesses were dropped. When Estalella testified at the BALCO grand jury in 2003, he didn’t say anything about Bonds using steroids, records show. Instead of calling more players, the prosecutor said the government would wrap up with three witnesses:
- Doping scientist Dr. Don Catlin. He is expected say that a retest of a urine sample Bonds gave to Major League Baseball in 2003 showed the former Giants star was using “the clear,” an undetectable steroid sold by the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative in Burlingame.
- Dr. Arthur Ting, Bonds’ orthopedic surgeon. He has told investigators that Steve Hoskins, Bonds’ former business manager, was worried the Giants slugger was using steroids and tried to get him to stop.
- Kathy Hoskins, Steve Hoskins’ sister and Bonds’ onetime personal shopper. She has told the government that she saw Anderson inject Bonds in the abdomen, where growth hormone shots are typically administered.
Bonds, baseball’s home run champion, is accused of falsely telling the BALCO grand jury that he had never knowingly used banned drugs. Bonds said he used items that Anderson provided him, but said he thought they were flaxseed oil and arthritis balm.
The former Giants slugger has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The trial is in its second week in federal court in San Francisco.
Velarde testified that in 2001, when he and Estalella were teammates on the Yankees, Estalella mentioned that when he was with the Giants he had met a source for banned drugs – Anderson.
Velarde “could get some stuff” from the trainer, he said Estalella told him. By “stuff,” Velarde meant “human growth hormone, that kind of stuff ... steroids,” he said.
The following year Velarde signed with the A’s. He said he met Anderson at spring training, 2002, and Anderson began providing him with growth hormone and the injectable substances.
The player said he retired after the 2002 season and never saw Anderson again.
Velarde said he knew Anderson was Bonds’ trainer but he didn’t say that he had ever met Bonds. Nor did Anderson provide him with “the cream” and “the clear,” the BALCO designer steroids, he said.
The other players who testified were still in the game in 2003, when drug testing began, and all said Anderson gave them the BALCO drugs to beat the drug tests.
Earlier, defense lawyer Allen Ruby cross-examined Benard, pushing the former Giant on whether Anderson had told him that “the clear” was a steroid, as the former player testified Tuesday.
Ruby pointed out that in grand jury testimony in 2006, Benard hadn’t called “the cream” a steroid, saying only that Anderson “told me he had something that, you know, wouldn’t be detectable.” The lawyer accused Benard of revising his story to call the cream a steroid because prosecutors told him to. Benard denied that.