Keith Allison/FlickrJason Giambi
Jason Giambi, the former New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics slugger, testified today that he got undetectable steroids and other banned drugs from Barry Bonds’ weight trainer.
Giambi, now a first baseman for the Colorado Rockies, was the first of three baseball players who testified at Bonds’ perjury trial. All said that for a time, trainer Greg Anderson was their connection for performance-enhancing substances.
Giambi told the jury of eight women and four men in federal court in San Francisco that after his 2002 season with the Yankees, he and Bonds, then the Giants’ biggest star, joined an American All-star team for a baseball tour of Japan.
Bonds brought trainer Anderson along and Giambi said he began talking to him in the clubhouse.
“I was picking Greg’s brain about what kind of training Barry was doing,” Giambi said. “I mean he was an incredible baseball player and I just wanted to continue my career.”
Upon their return to the U.S., Giambi said he gave Anderson blood and urine samples for testing at the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative in Burlingame. After that the trainer began selling him banned drugs.
Anderson first sent a package of “testosterone, syringes (and) vitamins” to Giambi’s home near Las Vegas. Later in 2002 or 2003 the trainer sent “some white pills and some yellow pills” as well as the BALCO undetectable steroids, “the cream” and “the clear.” A third package had only the BALCO drugs, he said.
In all, Giambi said he paid Anderson about $10,000 for the items.
“If I needed (human) growth hormone, (Anderson) could send it to me, but I told him I had it already,” said Giambi, who wore a jacket and tie and spoke to the jury in a conversational tone.
He acknowledged that the BALCO tests showed he had been using the injectable steroid Deca-Durabolin at the time he met Anderson. After suffering an injury during the 2003 season, he said he stopped using the BALCO drugs.
After Giambi’s half hour on the witness stand, two former big leaguers – Giambi’s brother Jeremy, who played for four clubs, and longtime Giants outfielder Marvin Benard – gave similar testimony, saying they too got BALCO steroids and other banned drugs from Anderson.
Jeremy Giambi said he met Anderson though his brother. Benard said he met Anderson when the trainer came with Bonds to spring training, perhaps in 1999.
None of the ballplayers said they had ever talked to Bonds about the steroids they were getting from Anderson. In cross-examining the Giambi brothers, defense lawyer Cristina Arguedas’ questions emphasized that Anderson sometimes called the BALCO drugs “an alternative to steroids,” suggesting they weren’t being touted as banned drugs.
Bonds is accused of lying under oath to a grand jury that investigated steroid dealing at BALCO. In his 2003 testimony, Bonds said he had never knowingly used steroids, only what Anderson had described to him as flaxseed oil and arthritis cream.
The former Giants star, who hasn't played baseball since setting the career-home run mark in 2007, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. In court, Bonds rarely looked at the players as they testified.
Anderson, Bonds’ friend since they played Little League together, pleaded guilty to steroid dealing in the BALCO case, but has refused to testify about Bonds. He has been imprisoned three times – most recently last week – for contempt of court.
Although absent from the trial, Anderson is a frequent topic as prosecutors attempt to prove that the trainer was providing the Giants star banned drugs.
Jeremy Giambi, who played for the A’s, Red Sox, Phillies and Royals, said that when he met Anderson, baseball was just gearing up its first-ever steroid testing program. Anderson said the BALCO tests showed that Jeremy Giambi was using the steroid nandrolone, and also suffered from vitamin deficiencies, the former player said.
“He said I had some deficiencies in a few categories and also that he had access to some PEDs and he thought it would be a good idea and go on and use these PEDs,” he said, using the acronym for “performance-enhancing drug."
They were “the clear,” which was taken orally, and "the cream," which was rubbed on the skin, he said.
Anderson described the items as “an alternative or an undetectable steroid,” Jeremy Giambi said, and he promised they would beat the game’s new drug-testing program.
Benard, a Giant from 1992 to 2003, said he often played winter league baseball in Mexico and had begun using steroids there to get over an injury.
Benard said he had brought some Mexican steroids with him to the U.S. Early on, he discussed those drugs with Anderson.
“I had brought back some steroids that were, I guess you could say dirty – they use it mostly for animals,” he said. Anderson "wanted to let me know it wasn’t the best thing I ought to be using.”
After that, he said Anderson began selling him “better, cleaner stuff” – Deca, and later, "the cream" and "the clear." In 1999 or 2000, at a gym on the Peninsula, Benard said Anderson injected him with a steroid, although the former player said he usually injected himself.
Also today, former Giants trainer Stan Conte testified that in 2003, Bonds acknowledged that Anderson was dealing steroids.
Conte, now with the Los Angeles Dodgers, recounted a 15-minute conversation he said he had with Bonds shortly after federal agents had served search warrants on BALCO and Anderson's home in September 2003.
The men spoke in Conte's office in the Giants’ training room at Pac Bell Park. By Conte's account, Bonds wanted to talk about BALCO and Anderson.
“Barry was talking about the BALCO raid,” said Conte. "He said it was unfair what the government was doing to Greg Anderson – they raided his house.”
Conte continued: “Barry (said he) trusted Greg Anderson and that he didn’t know anything about the steroids, that Greg was only selling the steroids to help his kid.”