Bonds enters not guilty plea for fourth time

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Bonds enters not guilty plea for fourth time

March 1, 2011
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Barry Bonds pleaded not guilty to perjury charges, his former personal trainer is facing prison and the admissibility of a trove of evidence hangs in the balance after a pivotal hearing in federal court Tuesday, three weeks before the slugger's trial is scheduled to start.Bonds' renewed plea was a legal technicality made necessary when prosecutors revised the charges for the third time since the initial indictment was unsealed in November 2007. Bonds is charged with four counts of making false statements to a grand jury and one count of obstruction of justice. There was little doubt what Bonds' plea was going to be Tuesday and that the case was going to trial March 21 after Bonds' legal team and prosecutors last month told U.S. District Judge Susan Illston that there was little chance of a plea agreement.Likewise, there was no doubt that Bonds' former personal trainer, Greg Anderson, would tell the judge Tuesday that he has no intention of taking the stand as a government witness during the trial. Anderson made a similar pledge in 2009 before Bonds' trial was put on hold until a government appeal was resolved in Bonds' favor.Anderson has previously spent more than a year in prison on contempt charges after refusing to testify before the grand jury investigating Bonds.The judge said that prosecutors and Bonds' legal team both want Anderson to testify. She said his testimony would spare his former clients, including several retired major league players, from being called to the witness stand to discuss how he supplied them with steroids. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeff Nedrow said he wants to use that evidence to support their position that Bonds was lying when he claimed "he was unwittingly duped by Mr. Anderson" into believing he was taking legal supplements."Much of that testimony would be unnecessary" if he testified, Illston told Anderson.Illston then told Anderson that she planned to find him in contempt of court and will order him jailed during the duration of the trial, which is expected to last at least two weeks. Anderson simply nodded his head when the judge asked if he intended to follow through on his vow of silence."He's taking not testifying to the nth degree," said Mark Geragos, Anderson's attorney.Illston ordered Anderson to return to court March 22, when she plans to order him jailed.After Anderson left the courtroom, the lawyers got down to highly technical arguments over what evidence will be presented to the jury.The judge ruled that the jury may hear, among other pieces of evidence:- That prosecutors granted Bonds immunity from prosecution as long he testified truthfully about his drug use before the grand jury.- Bonds' former personal shopper, Cathy Hoskins, testifying about Bonds' relationship with a Playboy model.- Bonds' personal surgeon, Dr. Arthur Ting, and former girlfriend Kim Bell testifying that Bonds mistreated them, including Bell allegedly witnessing violent outbursts.Bonds attorney Cris Arguedas objected to Bell telling the jury about an incident where Bonds allegedly grabbed her by the throat and threatened her life. Arguedas denied the incident occurred, but argued that even if it did happen, such testimony would unfairly bias the jury against Bonds."It's an act of domestic violence," Arguedas said. "It has an incendiary effect on the jury."Ted Cassman, another Bonds attorney, objected to Bell testifying that she witnessed Bonds' testicles shrink during their time together. He said that such an allegation is difficult to prove scientifically and would bring an unnecessary "circus-like" atmosphere to the trial.Illston didn't respond in court to the latest objections and will issue a written ruling later.Each count against Bonds carries a potential sentence of 10 years in prison. However, federal sentencing guidelines for a first offense on these charges generally call for a total sentence of 15 to 21 months.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's skid-snapping win over White Sox

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's skid-snapping win over White Sox

BOX SCORE

The A’s six-game road trip got off to a promising start Friday as they try to reverse their fortunes away from Oakland.

Jharel Cotton shined over five innings before leaving because of a blister on his right hand, and the bullpen took care of things from there to complete a 3-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Considering the A’s came in just 9-25 on the road so far, this was the rare occurrence of them taking control early and staying in control while wearing the road grays. Now the A’s just hope the victory didn’t come with a steep price.

In addition to Cotton (5-7) leaving after a blister opened up on his right thumb, shortstop Chad Pinder left with a strained left hamstring. The severity of that injury wasn’t immediately known.

Here’s five things you need to know from the opener of this three-game series at Guaranteed Rate Field:

-- Davis hits No. 19: Khris Davis gave Cotton some early cushion with a two-run homer off Mike Pelfrey (3-6) to center field in the first. It was Davis’ team-leading 19th long ball, but just his third in 22 games this month.

-- Another solid outing for rookie: Coming off a strong 6 1/3-inning outing against the New York Yankees, Cotton again looked in control Friday before having to leave. The right-hander held the Sox to three hits over his five innings, striking out three and walking one. It’s unknown whether the blister will affect his availability for his next start, but the A’s learned with Rich Hill last season how nagging a blister can be for a starter.

-- Ninth-inning nerves: The final score didn’t indicate how tense things got for Oakland in the ninth. Closer Santiago Casilla gave up two singles to start the inning. After Avisail Garcia flied out, Todd Frazier hit a pop up behind first. Yonder Alonso couldn’t haul it in and the ball dropped, but Alonso alertly threw to second to get a force out. Then Matt Davidson sent a deep fly ball to center that Jaycob Brugman hauled in at the warning track.

--- Joyce powers up: In the fifth, Matt Joyce lit into a 3-2 pitch from Pelfrey and homered to center field to put the A’s ahead 3-0. It was the ninth homer for Joyce, who continues to provide some of the spark the A’s are looking for in the leadoff spot.

-- A double ejection: : White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson and manager Rick Renteria both were ejected for arguing a fifth-inning play after Anderson hit a dribbler near home plate that surprised him by being called fair.

Sharks' draft pick Norris possesses 'Logan Couture attributes'

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USATSI

Sharks' draft pick Norris possesses 'Logan Couture attributes'

CHICAGO – Sharks general manager Doug Wilson is typically restrained in his public praise for players in the system. “We don’t like to over promote our prospects” is a phrase he’s used countless times.

That’s what made his instant comparison of Sharks first round pick center Josh Norris to a current core player so unexpected.

“We think – I hate doing this, but I’m going to – [Norris has] a lot of the Logan Couture attributes to him,” Wilson said on Friday at United Center, shortly after presenting Norris with a teal sweater.

Wilson also made note of Norris’ confidence, which was evident in the 18-year-old’s media availability. Norris described himself as “a 200-foot player. I think I can give you a little bit of everything: power play, penalty kill, faceoffs, can chip in offensively. I think I kind of do a little bit of everything.” He added that he attempts to pattern his game to Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak.

Like most players that aren’t top five selections, Norris isn’t likely to make the NHL roster in the fall. He’s set to attend the University of Michigan in the fall.

Still, Wilson suggested that it might not take long for the six-foot, 189-pound Oxford, Michigan native to make the leap.

“He’s a kid, the way he plays and the way he thinks, he potentially could fast track. So, we’ll see,” Wilson said.

Norris had some familial help on his journey to draft day. His father Dwayne had a few cups of coffee in the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques more than two decades ago, playing 20 career games from 1993-96.

Dwayne Norris was right there to congratulate his son, who was no sure thing to go in the first round as the 34th ranked North American skater, according to NHL Central Scouting.

“He just said how proud of me he was, and it was kind of a big moment we had that I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Norris said about his conversation with his father.

Norris’ stats suggest he has an ability to create offense, as he posted 27 goals and 61 points in 61 games for the U.S. National Under-18 team last season, and added 12 goals and 26 points in 25 games in the USHL.

“I think I’m a little bit of a goal scorer and a playmaker,” Norris said. “I think I’m really good in my defensive zone. I think I have a lot of upside on the offensive side of my game that I’m going to continue to work on.”

Wilson said: “We think he’s a mature player.”

Norris had a strong showing at the NHL combine, leading all 104 draft-eligible players in attendance in five of the 14 fitness tests. Those results, along with a strong interview, made Norris an appealing target for San Jose.

“He’s arguably one of the most athletic guys in the combine,” Wilson said. “His interview was phenomenal. If you go back in his history in big games he’s stepped up in a big way, and that’s the type of guy we’re looking for.”

Norris, who played baseball as a shortstop until age 13, said: “I wasn’t too nervous going to the combine. … I just tried to make good impressions on teams. The physical testing aspect of it, I’ve always been a pretty good athlete.”

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Norris will make his first-ever trip to California in early July to take part in the Sharks’ development camp.

* * *

Just before the Sharks’ contingent made its way to the stage to select Norris, Wilson was spotted talking with Washington general manager Brian MacLellan. After a brief exchange, MacLellan shook his head, and Wilson went back to the San Jose table and gathered his group to head to the podium.

Asked about the chat, Wilson said it was not about the 19th overall pick.

“We were actually looking at some other things, some other picks that we had,” Wilson said. “Some teams had reached out to us, and we’re planting our seeds a little bit for tomorrow already.”

The draft concludes on Saturday, with the second round beginning at 7 a.m. PT.