SAN FRANCISCO, (Reuters) – Former Major League Baseball player Randy Velarde testified yesterday that he used drugs he believed were human growth hormone obtained from home run king Barry Bonds’ personal trainer.
Called by prosecutors as a witness in Bonds’ perjury trial, Velarde told of meeting trainer Greg Anderson in parking lots where Anderson injected him in the arm.
“I believe it was HGH,” he said, referring to the substance that, like steroids, is banned from professional athletics.
After getting the shots, he “just had more endurance, strength,” he said.
The government aims to prove Bonds lied by showing he used steroids and as part of that effort it aims to show his trainer provided many associates with exactly the drugs he denies taking.
Velarde played 16 seasons as an infielder in the major leagues for teams including the New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Anaheim Angels and Texas Rangers.
Velarde’s testimony came a day after major leaguer Jason Giambi and former major leaguers Jeremy Giambi and Marvin Benard told the court that they had used performance-enhancing drugs obtained from Anderson.
Bonds has pleaded not guilty to charges that he lied to a grand jury about whether he knowingly used the same substances. His case is the latest in a years-long U.S. investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports.
The charges stem from Bonds’s 2003 appearance before a U.S. grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, or BALCO, whose head has pleaded guilty to dispensing steroids to professional athletes.
Bonds had told the BALCO grand jury he did not knowingly use steroids or growth hormones and said he never questioned the flaxseed oil, vitamins, protein shakes and creams Anderson supplied him.
Velarde, dressed in a pinstripe suit with a pink tie, testified that he told Anderson he didn’t like injections, so Anderson supplied him with pills.
But, Velarde said, these were not effective so he turned to the injections of what he thinks were HGH. The two met about 10 times, he said.
A day earlier, Jason Giambi testified that he obtained doping drugs the “clear” and the “cream” from Anderson, as well as testosterone for injection. He said he understood them to be a combination that would escape detection by anti-doping tests available at the time.
The clear and the cream are street names for steroids that ball players say Anderson supplied. The cream was testosterone, and the clear was epitestosterone.
In 2001, Bonds hit 73 home runs, a single-season record that still stands. In 2007, his last season in the league, he broke Hank Aaron’s 33-year-old record of 755 career home runs.