The federal steroids case may be more about getting President Bush re-elected than about smashing an illegal San Francisco bay area drug ring, attorneys for Barry Bonds' trainer contended in a motion filed this week.
San Francisco lawyer J. Tony Serra wants Judge Susan Illston to order prosecutors to turn over directives from Attorney General John Ashcroft or other evidence that bolsters the theory.
Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson, and three others have been indicted on charges of supplying elite athletes with illegal performance-enhancing substances. The others are Victor Conte Jr., the owner of Balco Laboratories; Balco vice president James Valente; and East Bay track coach Remi Korchemny. All have pleaded not guilty.
Federal prosecutors had no comment on Serra's motion.
The Los Angeles Times reported in Thursday's editions, however, that the government has filed a response to the motion. In it, the Times said, prosecutors detail the items seized in a raid of Anderson's home.
"At this time, the United States has no reason to believe that any of the items seized from Anderson's residence are exculpatory, and has every reason to believe that most of the items are affirmatively inculpatory," the response reportedly said.
The San Jose Mercury News reported that federal agents confiscated only a small amount of drugs, and Serra's office told the paper that Anderson has been unjustly caught in a political snare.
ANGELS: Right-hander Kelvim Escobar might miss a scheduled Saturday start because of a split nail on his right middle finger.
D'BACKS: First baseman Richie Sexson went on the 15-day disabled list after an MRI exam showed he has a partially dislocated left shoulder. Sexson, who is second in the NL with nine homers, was hurt on a check swing Wednesday night. There is no timetable for his return.
MARLINS: Leftfielder Jeff Conine was scratched with lower back stiffness.
ORIOLES: Shortstop Miguel Tejada left after being struck with a thrown ball in the eighth, but X-rays were negative.
REDS: Catcher Jason LaRue went on the 15-day DL a day after breaking his right index finger on a bunt attempt.
RED SOX: Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra spent about 15 minutes fielding ground balls but is not close to returning from the disabled list. Garciaparra injured an Achilles' in spring training.
ROYALS: AL rookie of the year Angel Berroa could be back in the lineup Saturday, the first day he is eligible to be activated from the disabled list. The shortstop went on the DL with migraines. ... Left-hander Darrell May will miss his start against the Yankees on Saturday after feeling discomfort in his left leg during a throwing session.
YANKEES: First baseman Travis Lee may be leaning toward left shoulder surgery after aggravating inflammation during batting practice Sunday. ... Right-hander Orlando Hernandez felt discomfort in the back of his pitching shoulder and left after nine pitches in a rehabilitation start for Class A Tampa.