SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Testimony in the Barry Bonds perjury trial focused on a secret recording of the US home run king’s trainer talking about steroid injections.
In the taped locker room chat, secretly recorded by a former friend and business manager of Bonds in 2003, trainer Greg Anderson talks about the dangers of repeated steroid injections in the same spot.
“Is that why Barry didn?t just shoot it into his butt all the time?” Steve Hoskins, the man who made the recording, asks Anderson.
“Oh no, I never — I never just go there. I move it all over the place,” Anderson says, explaining that prevents a “gnarly” cyst from forming, a common side effect of using the same injection site too many times.
Bonds is charged with lying to a federal grand jury in 2003 when he denied that he knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs.
He pleaded not guilty to four counts of lying under oath and one count of obstruction of justice.
On cross-examination, defense lawyers hammered Hoskins about his motives for making the recording.
They implied in questioning that Hoskins, a friend of Bonds since childhood, was bitter over a friendship and business relationship gone bad and may have altered the recording.
Hoskins maintained he taped the conversation to play it for Bonds? father, former San Francisco Giants player Bobby Bonds, in an attempt to elicit the elder Bonds? help in stopping his son?s drug use.
Hoskins said his only alteration was to raise the volume on the recording because it was difficult to hear.
“I would want to help Barry then, and I would want to help Barry now,” he said.
Later in his testimony, Hoskins called Bonds “a very good friend — a very good person.”
“He?s also the best baseball player that there?s ever going to be,” Hoskins added emphatically. “That was one of the reasons that I was the one trying to stop him taking steroids, because I thought it was bad for him.”
Hoskins, a soft-spoken man in a gold tie and cream-colored jacket who seemed unfazed during withering cross-examination, also told jurors that he once observed Bonds go into a bedroom with Anderson, the trainer, during spring training.
Bonds sat at a table with his lawyers, expressionless as Hoskins described seeing Anderson emerge from the bedroom holding a syringe with a needle.
Anderson, who served several months in prison for steroid dealing, is currently behind bars for refusing to testify in this case.
Bonds had previously asked Hoskins to investigate an injectable steroid called Winstrol, Hoskins said.
“He just wanted me to find out what (the) specific steroid was and wanted me to find out what the effects were,” Hoskins told the jury of eight women and four men.
About a year after Bonds asked him to look into the steroid, Hoskins said, Bonds complained about the physical side effects of steroid injections.
“He just complained that his butt was sore from the injections,” Hoskins said, “just that the steroid was — the shots were making his butt sore.”
Hoskins testified that he noticed physical changes in Bonds. He had to order larger sizes of shoes and gloves for the Giants star as his physique expanded, he said.
The San Francisco Giants slugger “got bigger and heavier. A lot more muscle.”
The trial was scheduled to continue Thursday with additional cross-examination of Hoskins and testimony from James Valente.
Valente is the former vice president of BALCO, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative that created once undetectable designer steroids whose discovery rocked athletics and baseball.
BALCO is at the heart of this case as well as several major doping cases.