Giants

Velarde, Benard: Bonds' trainer provided drugs

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Velarde, Benard: Bonds' trainer provided drugs

March 30, 2011

Editor's note: Follow all the developments at the trial with Kate Longworth's Twitter feed (@KLongworthCSN) from the courtroom. We'll have comprehensive analysis on SportsNet Central tonight.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- As prosecutors moved closer to finishing their case against Barry Bonds, former major league infielder Randy Velarde described meeting the slugger's personal trainer outside spring training ballparks for injections of human growth hormone.

Velarde said he sought out Greg Anderson because of his link to Bonds, and they met "in various parking lots."

"I can't remember each," Velarde said Wednesday during his 12 minutes of federal court testimony.

He wasn't sure exactly how many times he met Anderson. He was asked whether it was more than 10.

"That would be a fair number," he said.

And always, there would be an injection.

"Every meeting," he said.NEWS: Clemens says he's eager for trial

Velarde became the fourth and likely final ball player to say he purchased performance-enhancing drugs from Anderson, who has been jailed for contempt after refusing to testify against Bonds, his childhood friend.

With Anderson unavailable, prosecutors called Jason Giambi, Jeremy Giambi, Marvin Benard and Velarde as witnesses to describe Anderson's drug-dealing an attempt to show jurors Bonds must have known the substances he was receiving from Anderson were performance-enhancing drugs. None of the players had personal knowledge of any drug use by Bonds.

Three more players were among the 50 potential witnesses on a list submitted to the court by prosecutors on March 7 1987 NL Rookie of the Year Benito Santiago, Armando Rios and Bobby Estalella but Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew A. Parrella told U.S. District Judge Susan Illston on Wednesday that the government intended to call just three more witnesses.

His statement came as a surprise. Prosecutors said in the March 7 filing that Estalella would testify Bonds admitted to him that he used performance-enhancing drugs and they had several discussions about the subject.

Parrella said his final three witnesses would be Bonds' physician Dr. Arthur Ting, Bonds' former personal shopper Kathy Hoskins and former UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory head Dr. Don Catlin. After that, the defense can start calling its witnesses.

Benard finished testifying Wednesday morning and was followed by Velarde. Then came a current IRS special agent and a former one, along with six of the people who worked at the UCLA lab as it processed Bonds' 2003 drug test. Giving often tedious testimony, the eight established the chain of evidence for the jury of Bonds' urine from the time federal agents seized it from Quest Diagnostics in April 2004 until the time it tested positive for the steroid Tetrahydrogestrinone (TGH) in March 2006.

After just five witnesses appeared in the first four days of testimony, the trial's pace has increased. Five witnesses finished their testimony on Tuesday and 10 more completed their questioning on Wednesday.

With prosecutors planning to read portions of Bonds' grand jury testimony to the jury, the government's presentation is likely to wrap up by early next week. Thursday's session will be cut short because Illston will leave to attend the swearing in of a judge late in the day. After that, the trial resumes Monday.

Bonds, baseball's season and career home run king, is charged with four counts of lying and one count of obstruction for telling a grand jury in 2003 that he didn't knowingly use performance-enhancing drugs. Wearing a blue suit and blue tie, he took notes and conferred with lead lawyer Allen Ruby during a day filled with science, such as explanations of how an isotope-ratio mass spectrometer works and the difference between carbon-12 and carbon-13.

"I think we are all feeling a little obtuse right now," Illston said late in the day.

Velarde played mostly for the New York Yankees but also for the Angels and Athletics in a major league career from 1987-02. He met Anderson in 2001 through Estalella, who split that year between Bonds' Giants and the Yankees.

"He mentioned to me he could get some stuff through Greg and gave me his name and number," Velarde said.

Anderson at first sent Velarde some pills, but the player felt they weren't benefiting him

He then switched to injections and said after them he felt he had more endurance and strength. He paid Anderson 500 to 800.

At the start of the morning, Ruby cross-examined Benard and tried to imply Benard didn't know that substances Anderson gave him called "the clear" and "the cream" were steroids. Bonds told the grand jury Anderson told him they were "flaxseed oil" and arthritic balm.

Benard admitted he met with the prosecution when he arrived in San Francisco this week from his home in Washington state.

"At this meeting you had with these prosecutors, they told you they wanted you to say that Anderson told you he was giving you a steroid, an undetectable steroid," Ruby said.

Benard said prosecutors reviewed his grand jury testimony with them.

"They showed me what I said earlier, when my memory was clearer," Benard said.

"Isn't it true, Mr. Benard, that you were asked many times at the grand jury what Anderson said to you about this new material he was giving you and you never said that he had called it an undetectable steroid?" Ruby asked.

"You got a better idea of what I said in there than I do," Benard told him.

As Arroyo is shut down, Sandoval's numbers nosedive

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USATSI

As Arroyo is shut down, Sandoval's numbers nosedive

SAN FRANCISCO — There is a Houston Astros prospect named Dean Deetz, and in a way, Pablo Sandoval can thank him for his second shot with the Giants. 

Deetz drilled Christian Arroyo on July 1, halting the young third baseman’s bid to return to the Giants for the final two months. With Eduardo Nuñez traded to Boston and Arroyo recovering from minor hand surgery, the Giants turned to Sandoval, who has been a fixture in the middle of their lineup the last couple of weeks. Arroyo hoped to get some time at the hot corner in September, but on Thursday the Giants conceded that won’t happen. 

Arroyo will miss the rest of the regular season, team officials said. The hope is that he can get healthy in time for the Arizona Fall League and then potentially make up lost at-bats in a winter league.

Arroyo is either the organization’s best or second-best hitting prospect, depending on which list you look at. He hit .396 in Triple-A this season and then provided a momentary jolt after he forced his way into the big league lineup. Then the slump came, and overall Arroyo hit just .192 in 34 big league games. He was sent back to the minors and promptly was hit by a couple of pitches. 

It was a season with plenty of highs but a disappointing ending, but Arroyo is still just 22 and looks to be a big part of the future. Has he done enough to go into next spring with a firm grip on a job? 

“I’ll have to answer that later on and see where we’re at,” manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday. “It’s all going to be competitive, that’s the way I look at it. You look at where we’ll finish, and not in the postseason, and you have to stay open-minded on everything.”

This could be setting up for a pretty intriguing spring battle. Arroyo and 23-year-old Ryder Jones were the internal candidates set for a competition, but Sandoval likely will be the everyday third baseman down the stretch. He has shown flashes of his old pre-Boston self and the Giants have been generally pleased with his play. Still, the results aren’t really there. 

Sandoval is hitting .200 since returning, with a .220 on-base percentage and .325 slugging percentage. That's good for a .545 OPS, which is nearly 100 points below his OPS in Boston this season. The Red Sox, at some point, had seen enough.  

Bochy said he has taken positives away from Sandoval's energy and some of his bigger moments, particularly the upper-deck homer he hit off Max Scherzer over the weekend. That’s his only homer with the Giants so far, but it made an impression. 

“He’s got the bat speed,” Bochy said. “That’s one of the longest homers we’ve seen this year. That shows (the bat speed) is there.”

Jones has been a fixture as well, playing first base in place of Brandon Belt. He has looked much better the second time around, but his average is still below .200 and his OPS of .559 is just about equal to Sandoval's. The Giants have not seen enough from anyone to have a favorite to play third base next season, and Bochy said the same holds true at other positions. 

"We've got to stay open-minded about who is going to be where next year (and) playing time," he said. "It's up to us to adjust and get better."

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

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AP

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

I hadn’t considered the notion of Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles bombing quite so badly Thursday night, so I hadn’t considered the notion advanced by Pro Football Talk Friday morning that Jacksonville might be a great place for Colin Kaepernick.

That’s because I long ago stopped considering the idea that Kaepernick’s exile from football was, or is, about football. It isn’t. He is the example for future player/miscreants, and trotting his name out every time a quarterback in the new NFL vomits up a practice game on national television is simply perpetuating a lie.

Until someone gets so desperate that it isn’t any more.

That’s the problem with being so definitive about Kaepernick’s perpetual ban. It only takes one owner with a willingness to stick a middle finger up to the objections and say, “I own a football team, not some branch of the USO” to end this national spitfest once and for all. And yes, I say owner because this is an owner’s decision, solely and completely. In the hypothetical of Kaepernick the Jaguar, it will be made not by Doug Marrone, who is merely a coach, or by Tom Coughlin, who is only the general manager, but Shahid Khad, one of the brightest and quietly more powerful owners in the league.

But the odds still scream No Kaep For You, because it would mean that exhibition games matter for judgmental purposes (which they don’t), that Bortles is somehow worse than half the quarterbacks in the NFL (he is part of an amorphous blob of non-producers whose numbers are growing as the differences between college and pro football offenses expand), and that owners easily break away from the herd once the herd has decided on something (Khan is not a rebel in the Jerry Jones mold by any means).

In other words, I remain unconvinced that there is a place for Colin Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL. And he’s probably better off.