Judge says ex-players must testify at Bonds' trial


Judge says ex-players must testify at Bonds' trial


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Some of BarryBonds' former teammates, along with other retired Major League Baseballplayers and perhaps current player Jason Giambi, will have to testifyat the slugger's upcoming perjury trial, a federal judge said Friday.Lawyers for Bonds argued at a hearingbefore U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston that the players shouldbe excluded because of their ties to Bonds' former trainer GregAnderson, who is refusing to testify against the slugger. REWIND: Lawyers seek to keep players from Bonds' trial
Illston previously barred much of theevidence relating to Anderson because of his willingness to go toprison on contempt charges rather than testify at the trial set tostart March 21.Without his testimony, it could beimpossible to prove that urine samples that purportedly tested positivefor steroids had been collected from Bonds by Anderson.Illston also said she would consideron a case-by-case basis whether to exclude other evidence seized fromAnderson's home and elsewhere that prosecutors want to show the jury.The judge said prosecutors could callthe athletes to testify about their relationships with Anderson, whosupplied many of them with steroids and whom the government claimssupplied Bonds with performance-enhancing drugs.Bonds, 46, has pleaded not guilty to10 counts of perjury and an obstruction charge after telling a grandjury in December 2003 that he never knowingly took steroids. Bondstestified that Anderson supplied him with all kinds of substances, buthe assumed they were all legal supplements.Some players were expected to testifythat Anderson supplied them with drugs and informed clients thesubstances were illegal steroids. Prosecutors hope the testimony willpersuade jurors that Bonds had to have known that Anderson was givinghim illicit performance enhancers."Anderson provided them with detailedinstructions and explained to them these were steroids," federalprosecutor Matt Parrella told the judge.One of Bonds' six attorneys, DennisRiordan, sought to bar the athletes' testimony. He arguedunsuccessfully that the government was attempting to win the case with"guilt by association."On the prosecution witness list areGiambi and retired players Marvin Benard, Jeremy Giambi (Jason'sbrother), Armando Rios, Benito Santiago, Bobby Estallela, Randy Velardeand retired football player Larry Izzo.The judge said she may stop the parade of players from taking the witness stand if their testimony begins to sound the same.The players' dealings with Andersondate back a decade or more, which legal experts said could furtherhobble prosecutors already set back by the exclusion of the tests tiedto Anderson."We all struggle with recalling whathappened a week ago," said Vermont Law School professor Michael McCann,a sports law expert. "It happened so long ago, and these witnesses areprobably going to have a difficult time recalling everything."The judge ordered Anderson to appearin court sometime before the trial starts to reiterate his refusal totestify. Anderson will be jailed for the length of the trial, whichcould last a month. Anderson already served a little more than a yearon contempt charged after he refused to testify before the grand juryinvestigating Bonds for perjury.Anderson pleaded guilty to steroidsdistribution and money laundering in 2005 and served three months inprison. His Los Angeles-based lawyer Mark Geragos didn't return a phonecall Friday.Both sides will return to court Feb.11 to wrangle over whether a secretly recorded conversation betweenAnderson and Bonds' former business partner Steve Hoskins should beplayed for the jury.Hoskins made the recording in front of the slugger's locker in San Francisco in March 2003.In that conversation, Andersondiscusses how he is helping Bonds avoid infections by injecting him indifferent parts of his buttocks rather than in one spot.Bonds testified before the grand jury that no one but his doctor ever injected him.

Vogt's defensive cameo comes straight out of left field

Vogt's defensive cameo comes straight out of left field

OAKLAND — Stephen Vogt made an unexpected appearance in left field Wednesday night, and his performance got approval from a pretty good outfield authority.

Former A’s teammate Josh Reddick was watching from the Houston Astros’ dugout and thought the catcher-by-trade handled himself very well.

“I was talking to (Houston manager) A.J. (Hinch) and I said, ‘It’s gonna be interesting because you know at least one ball’s gonna get to him,’” Reddick said. “You start laughing because four of the five that were hit that inning were hit to him.”

With the A’s bench short-handed, manager Bob Melvin sent Vogt to left after he pinch-hit for Rajai Davis, and indeed Vogt got a workout throughout the top of the eighth. That added a bit of levity to a 5-1 loss that otherwise provided the A’s very little to cheer about.

They were bottled up by Astros right-hander Mike Fiers and four relievers as the Astros won their ninth in a row at the Coliseum and their third straight in this four-game series. A’s starter Sean Manaea was rolling through five scoreless innings before Houston blitzed him for three runs in the sixth. The Astros tacked on a couple more late runs against Oakland’s bullpen and that was enough on a night the A’s mustered just four hits total.

After Vogt delivered an RBI groundout that scored the A’s only run in the seventh, Melvin wanted to keep Vogt’s left-handed bat in the lineup, so he asked the veteran catcher if he could handle left.

“I said yeah, absolutely,” Vogt said.

It’s easy to forget that Vogt came up through the Tampa Bay Rays’ system playing a lot of outfield, and he played more than a dozen games in the outfield in 2014 for the A’s, mostly in right.

He sure got tested. The Astros’ first four hitters of the eighth all hit balls in Vogt’s direction. He got a routine fly from Brian McCann, a difficult low liner off the bat of Yuli Gurriel that he smothered for a single, a double from Alex Bregman that he did a good job cutting off and a sacrifice fly to the warning track from Jake Marisnick.

“I had the adrenaline shot run up and I was loose and ready to go,” Vogt said. “Obviously I was a little more focused than probably your average outfielder out there. I’m glad the first one came to me, otherwise I would have been sweatin’ it for a while.”

Vogt has lost time recently behind the plate against right-handers to Josh Phegley, who has done an effective job controlling the running game. And though you shouldn’t by any means expect to see Melvin running Vogt to the outfield often, you also shouldn’t assume it won’t happen at all.

At some point, the A’s figure to call up catcher Bruce Maxwell as part of the crop of young players they’re trying to give more time too. If the left-handed hitting Maxwell were to share catching duties with Phegley, and if the A’s were to trade Yonder Alonso (again, we’re talking ‘ifs’ here), it’s conceivable Vogt’s left-handed bat could be put to use at spots other than catcher, perhaps at first base or, in a pinch, even the outfield.

His old teammate thinks he could pull it off.

“I remember him playing in right in ’14 when I was (injured),” Reddick said. “He did a pretty good job out there, it’s not like he’s foreign to it. He knows what he’s doing.”

No need for Warriors fans to fret over NBA's projected lower salary cap

No need for Warriors fans to fret over NBA's projected lower salary cap

There is no need for the Warriors fan to grow anxious with the news Wednesday night that the NBA salary cap and luxury tax threshold will be roughly two percent lower than initially projected.

For one, those players committed to returning are not likely to change their minds.

For two, the cap/tax figures also will influence other teams that might target members of the Warriors, such as Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

Even with the lower numbers, reported by multiple outlets, Kevin Durant remains in line for a raise from the $26.5 million he made last season, and he already has made clear his intentions to accept less than the $31.8 million the Warriors could’ve paid him.

With the cap expected to be about $99 million instead of the roughly $101 million originally forecast, that figure falls between $30 million and $31 million.

Durant’s willingness to be flexible -- designed to help the team in its attempts to retain Iguodala and maybe Livingston -- remains the most significant factor for the Warriors as they proceed. Even if Durant takes 10 percent less than, say, $31 million, he still would get a modest increase.

Stephen Curry, who also has announced his intention to re-sign with the Warriors, still could receive about $35 million in Year 1 of a five-year contract worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million.

When the numbers are that astronomical, losing a small percentage is not such a crucial factor.

The Warriors surely knew the cap/tax figures would take a hit. Both figures are impacted by revenue generated through the playoffs, which featured only 79 of a possible 105 games.

Only two series -- Jazz-Clippers and Celtics-Wizards -- went the full seven games and eight of the 15 series ended in five or fewer games, including five sweeps.

The Warriors accounted for three of those sweeps.