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Bonds refuses comment; others issue denials

Barry Bonds walked silently through the San Francisco Giants'
bustling clubhouse. Asked about a report that he had received
steroids and human growth hormone from a nutritional supplements
lab implicated in a drug-distribution ring, Bonds softly replied:
"Get out of my locker."

Similar scenes were repeated Tuesday at other major league
teams' sites. From Florida to Arizona, the focus at spring training
was on steroids again.

Citing information it said was given to federal investigators,
the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday that Bonds was given
the substances by his personal trainer -- who got them from the Bay
Area Laboratory Co-Operative.

According to the newspaper, investigators also were told that
steroids were given to New York Yankees stars Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield, three other major leaguers and one NFL player.

"We are very distressed about any situation that calls into
play the integrity of our players," said Bob DuPuy, baseball's
chief operating officer said about the newspaper report.

Rep. John E. Sweeney, a New York Republican, said players
"involved in illegal substances" should have an asterisk placed
next to their names.

"The trick to this thing is that some of these substances at
different periods of time were not illegal or were not
detectable," said Sweeney, who introduced legislation Tuesday that
would criminalize some steroidlike substances, such as
androstenedione.

Bonds refused to comment Tuesday at the Giants' spring training
camp in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Giants also would not comment on the
report, and teammates rallied around Bonds.

"He's going to see new charges every day. We just have to be
there for him and try to make this his sanctuary away from all
this," outfielder Jeff Hammonds said.

Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker, who was Bonds' manager in
San Francisco when the slugger hit a record 73 homers in 2001, said
Wednesday it was premature to talk about putting notations next to
records. Bonds now is aiming at Hank Aaron's career mark of 755
home runs.

"Before you start putting asterisks, you got to have proof if
they did it or not. Then you got to have proof on which years they
did it," Baker said. "Then you got to have proof on if they did
it, when did they start doing it. You know what I'm saying? So do
you put an asterisk on the first 400 or last 200 or whatever?"

Bonds' attorney, Michael Rains, issued a statement Tuesday
saying: "We continue to adamantly deny that Barry was provided,
furnished or supplied any illegal substances at any time by Greg
Anderson. This latest pronouncement is a complete disregard to the
truth."

At the Yankees' spring training camp in Tampa, Fla., Giambi and
Sheffield wouldn't directly address the report.

"Speculation doesn't bother me. It's as simple as that,"
Sheffield said. "I deal with it. You know I don't like dealing
with issues. You know I don't like dealing with controversy. Nobody
likes to do that."

Sheffield signed with the Yankees as a free agent this winter
after two seasons with the Atlanta Braves.

"To me, Sheff never looked like a guy who was doing steroids,"
Braves manager Bobby Cox said Tuesday in Kissimmee, Fla. "He
looked the same as I always remembered him looking."

Bonds' trainer Greg Anderson gave the players the drugs from BALCO,
according to information given to the government and shared with
the newspaper. The report did not say how federal investigators
received the information.

Prosecutors released documents last month saying Anderson told
federal agents he gave steroids to several professional baseball
players. No players were identified in those documents.

Anderson's attorney, Tony Serra, said Friday the trainer had
seven professional athletes as clients -- Bonds, five other major
leaguers, and one football player.

Serra also said that Bonds "never took anything illegal" and
that the slugger was offered -- but rejected -- a substance at the
heart of the government's case. That substance, according to
government documents, was THG.

Bonds, Giambi and Sheffield have repeatedly denied using
steroids, and last week Bonds said baseball could "test me every
day if they choose to."


Former major leaguer Andy Van Slyke, who played with Bonds on
the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1987 to 1992, told Sporting News Radio on
Tuesday that he believes Bonds used steroids.

"Unequivocally he's taken them," Van Slyke said. "I can say
that with utmost certainty. Now, I never saw him put it into his
body, but look ... the physical evidence is there. People do not
gain 35 pounds of muscle in their late 30s without a little bit of
help.

"When I played with him, I weighed more than him and yet he was
still a tremendous player. He still had good power, and he was an
MVP. The physical facts are the physical facts, and when you're 36,
37 and 38 years old is not when you peak with your home run
production."

Bonds, Giambi and Sheffield testified last year before the grand jury that indicted Anderson and three others in the alleged steroid-distribution ring.

THG was not made
illegal until recent months, and while the possession and sale of
human growth hormone without a prescription is a crime, its
personal use is not.

Steroids were not banned by major league baseball until late
2002 and testing with penalties didn't begin until this month.
Human growth hormone is not banned by baseball because there is no
test for it, according to Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice
president for labor relations.

Anderson has been charged with participating in a ring that
provided performance-enhancing drugs to pro athletes. Also charged
were BALCO founder Victor Conte; the lab's vice president, James
Valente; and track coach Remi Korchemny. All four pleaded innocent
and are free on bond.

The Chronicle reported that two of Bonds' former teammates --
Marvin Benard of the White Sox and Benito Santiago of the Royals --
and former Oakland Athletics infielder Randy Velarde also received
performance-enhancing drugs, as did linebacker Bill Romanowski, who
was released Tuesday by the Oakland Raiders after failing a
physical.

Benard and Santiago declined to comment Tuesday at their teams'
Arizona spring training camps. Velarde and Romanowski could not be
immediately reached.

Citing an anonymous source, the Chronicle reported that Anderson
provided Bonds with steroids and human growth hormone as far back
as 2001, when the slugger hit 73 homers to break Mark McGwire's
single-season record.

Human growth hormone works like a steroid, building muscle mass
and helping athletes recover from training. Standard drug tests are
unable to detect it, but scientists are working to develop a
reliable test before this summer's Athens Olympics.