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Bonds testifies in drug lab probe

Associated Press
Published December 5, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO - Barry Bonds became the highest-profile athlete to appear before a grand jury focusing on possible tax and drug violations by a California lab that supplied nutritional supplements to Bonds and other sports stars.

The six-time National League MVP entered the grand jury room late Thursday morning accompanied by attorney Mike Rains and left the room nearly 51/2 hours later, though it was unclear how long he testified.

"It went fine," Bonds said as he was led by two bodyguards and two federal marshals to a freight elevator that was held for him.

Bonds' wife and mother sat in a nearby hallway during most of his appearance. At one point, Bonds stuck his head into the hallway and asked, "Is my mother here?"

Benito Santiago, a free agent who spent the past three seasons as Bonds' teammate with the Giants, testified for 45 minutes in the afternoon.

His attorney, David Cornwell, said he fears athletes who appear before the grand jury will be unfairly ostracized.

"My only concern is that there seems to be almost an undercurrent that stigmatizes these guys, which I think is inappropriate," Cornwell said.

Bonds has attributed his muscular development over the years to intense weight training, proper diet and a regimen of nutritional supplements from companies such as the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO, that is at the heart of the grand jury probe.

Bonds repeatedly has denied using steroids.

Thursday's appearance gave grand jurors the chance to ask the slugger under oath whether his growth has been entirely natural.

Two people have been named as targets of the grand jury, BALCO founder Victor Conte and Greg Anderson, Bonds' personal trainer.

Miley gets the nod

CINCINNATI - Dave Miley's loyalty was rewarded when the Reds decided to keep him as manager for at least one more season.

The Reds gave the Tampa native a one-year contract with a club option for another year, removing the interim tag from his title.

Miley, 41, replaced Bob Boone on July 28 when the Reds made an abrupt about-face in their first season at Great American Ball Park. General manager Jim Bowden also was fired, and the club went on a payroll-cutting spree.

Miley, who has spent 24 years in the organization as a player, coach and minor-league manager, led what was left of the club to a 22-35 record. He got high marks from players for guiding the clubhouse through a tough time.

First-year general manager Dan O'Brien also interviewed Devil Rays bench coach John McLaren, former White Sox manager Jerry Manuel and Pirates director of player development Brian Graham.

YANKS ADD ACE: Less than a week after the Red Sox upgraded their pitching staff with Curt Schilling, the Yankees acquired hard-throwing right-hander Javier Vazquez from the Expos for first baseman Nick Johnson, outfielder Juan Rivera and left-hander Randy Choate.

Vazquez joins a rotation that includes Mike Mussina, Jose Contreras, Jeff Weaver and possibly Andy Pettitte, a free agent negotiating with the Yankees and Houston.

Vazquez went 13-12 with a 3.24 ERA for the Expos last season, ranking third in the NL in strikeouts with 241 in 2302/3 innings.

Johnson, 25, one of the Yankees' few good young players, played first base for much of last season because of Jason Giambi's knee injury.

Many analysts believe he can be a dominating hitter, and last season he started to live up to his notices, batting .284 with 14 homers, 47 RBIs and a .422 on-base percentage in 324 at-bats. A disciplined hitter and a strong defensive player, he has been injury prone.

The Yankees could be fined as much as $100,000 by the state if they violated lobbying laws by giving free tickets to top politicians, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The state Temporary Commission on Lobbying plans a civil penalty hearing early next year.

In other Expos news, rights for Puerto Rican television are holding up a deal that would bring the team back to San Juan for 22 games next season. The dispute should not jeopardize an agreement, promoter Antonio Munoz said.

FRANCONA'S TURN: Terry Francona officially was named Red Sox manager, joining his former Phillies ace, Curt Schilling, in an effort to bring Boston its first championship since 1918.

Francona said he knew it was a perfect fit as soon as he came to Boston to interview with general manager Theo Epstein.

"I went home knowing this was a place I wanted to end up," Francona said. "All of the things they seem to believe in: communication, open and honest communication, the way you treat people, their view on the game of baseball; it just seemed like a terrific match."

JAPANESE STAR NARROWS SEARCH: Japan's Kazuo Matsui will choose from four major-league teams courting him. The switch-hitting infielder, 28, didn't specify which teams he was considering, citing ongoing negotiations.

JAIL FOR ATTACKER: A man who attacked an umpire at a White Sox game this year pleaded guilty in Chicago to aggravated battery. Eric Dybas was sentenced to six months in jail and 30 months of probation.

CARDINALS: Centerfielder Jim Edmonds had shoulder surgery and is expected to be healed by spring training.

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