Pierzynski excused from testifying

Updated: December 1, 2003, 1:53 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

SAN FRANCISCO -- New Giants catcher A.J. Pierzynski appeared before the grand jury, but he did not give testimony in the ongoing federal investigation into a Burlingame nutritional supplement laboratory, his attorney told the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday.

Attorney Bill Goodman said Pierzynski was excused Thursday after meeting with an assistant U.S. attorney.

"Mr. Pierzynski and I went into the grand jury waiting area, pursuant to the subpoena,'' Goodman told the newspaper. "We had a brief conversation with the U.S. attorney and the investigator. They each concluded he had no information about anything important. ... He was excused, and they apologized for bringing him in.''

Goodman told the newspaper that Pierzynski was asked about Greg Anderson, one of Barry Bonds' personal trainers. Anderson's home was raided by federal agents in September, shortly after a similar action at Bay Area Laboratories Co- Operative, owned by Victor Conte, according to the Chronicle.

Pierzynski met Anderson during a 2002 tour of Japan. Bonds was on that tour and brought Anderson with him.

"They asked him if Mr. Anderson gave him a workout regimen, which he did, '' Goodman told the newspaper. "Mr. Pierzynski followed that regimen. ... The only information he received from Mr. Anderson was about some multi-vitamins and a protein mix you use after you work out to recover. But nothing involving steroids.''

Goodman told the paper that Pierzynski has never met Conte, "never had any contact with him.'' The lawyer also wanted to make clear the distinction between appearing before the grand jury and giving testimony.

"It was just a colossal waste of time,'' Goodman told the Chronicle. "Now it's created the wrong impression. Because we were sitting in there (the waiting room) so long, people came away with the wrong impression. I'd like to clear it up since he's starting fresh here.''

Pierzynski, Bobby Estalella and outfielder Armando Rios all appeared before the panel on Thursday.

Pierzynski was traded from the Minnesota Twins to the San Francisco Giants last week. The other two are former Giants -- Estalella played with the Colorado Rockies last season and is now a free agent, while Rios is with the Chicago White Sox.

Bonds and Jason Giambi are among the other major league players subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury in upcoming weeks. Bonds' attorney has said his client will appear Dec. 4.

Also attending the grand jury session Thursday were identical twins Alvin and Calvin Harrison, both middle-distance runners who have won Olympic gold medals.

Federal officials have refused to discuss the grand jury or the scope of its secret proceedings, but two sources familiar with the grand jury have said the probe is focusing on drugs and taxes.

It's not clear what, if any, drug charges might result from the investigation. An appearance before the grand jury, or being subpoenaed to testify, does not mean an athlete is a target of the probe.

An attorney for Victor Conte, founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, has said his client is a target of the grand jury investigation. BALCO has supplied some of the nation's top athletes with nutritional supplements.

BALCO also is at the center of an investigation by anti-doping agencies into the newly discovered steroid THG. An unidentified coach who turned in a used syringe containing THG said he got the substance from Conte, who has denied being the source of the substance.

At least five track and field athletes already have tested positive for THG and face two-year bans. Four members of the Oakland Raiders also reportedly have tested positive for THG.

Another target of the probe is Greg Anderson, a personal trainer for Bonds and other professional athletes. His attorney has confirmed Anderson is a target.

The world's fastest couple, Olympic star Marion Jones and 100-meter world record-holder Tim Montgomery, are among the track stars to have appeared before the panel in recent weeks. Five NFL players also appeared last week.

Calvin Harrison faces a two-year suspension for a pair of flunked drug tests. He tested positive for the stimulant modafinil at the U.S. track championships in June. In 1993, Harrison tested positive for the stimulant pseudoephedrine at the U.S. junior indoor championships and was suspended for three months.

The penalty for a second offense for a mild stimulant is a two-year ban. Harrison could be retroactively disqualified from this past summer's world championships, where he ran the opening leg in the final of the 1,600-meter relay. The U.S. squad could lose its gold medal if Harrison is disqualified.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.