SAN FRANCISCO — Barry Bonds' defense team apparently is convinced it did not need to take a single swing at the prosecution's perjury case to knock it out of the park.
After more than two weeks of testimony from more than two dozen prosecution witnesses, Bonds' defense lawyers did not put on a single witness Wednesday, setting up closing arguments this morning.
The decision was not a particular surprise, given strong signals from the defense team that any case it mounted would be, at most, brief. And defendants seldom testify in criminal trials because of the risk. Legal experts have predicted it would be far too dangerous to call Bonds in a perjury case that rests in large part on circumstantial evidence and inferences.
Lead defense attorney Allen Ruby declined comment. But experts said the strategy was designed as a show of confidence for the jury.
"I read that as (Bonds' lawyers) saying, 'We don't have to do anything, they haven't proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt,' " said Robert Talbot, a University of San Francisco law professor. "Why mess around."
Greg Scott, Sacramento's former U.S. attorney, agreed, calling the decision a "classic defense tactic in these types of cases."
"They have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt he committed perjury," Scott said of the prosecution. "The government's case has been completely circumstantial. The defense has done the math and made a calculated, strategic decision the government has not" proven its case.
Bonds, 46, faces three counts of perjury and one count of obstructing justice for allegedly lying to a federal grand jury in 2003 about knowingly using steroids. Federal prosecutors dropped a fourth perjury count after it became clear U.S. District Judge Susan Illston was poised to dismiss it because of insufficient evidence to back it up.
ROCKIES ACE ON DL: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez went on the 15-day disabled list with a cracked cuticle on his pitching thumb, the first DL trip for the 27-year-old Dominican who was the All-Star Game's NL starter last summer.
CABRERA HEARING: An administrative hearing was postponed on whether to reinstate Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera's driver's license after it was suspended last month following his arrest on drunken-driving charges. The change was made to give an arresting deputy a chance to testify. No new date was scheduled.
CANCER BENCHES KILLEBREW: Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew, who is battling esophageal cancer, won't travel to Minnesota to throw out the first pitch before the Twins' home opener Friday, saying the trip from Arizona would disrupt his treatment schedule. Twins legend Tony Oliva will throw the first pitch instead.
JAYS MAY PLAY MONTREAL: Blue Jays president Paul Beeston wants to take baseball back to Montreal, at least on a part-time basis. "Certainly we would like to play a game in Montreal or in Quebec at some point in time," Beeston said, without getting specific. "I think it would be a terrific idea."
ANGELS: SS Erick Aybar sat out for the third straight game and will have an MRI exam on his injured oblique muscle.
ATHLETICS: RH reliever Michael Wuertz went on the 15-day DL with a strained left hamstring. RHP Tyler Ross was recalled from Triple A.
CUBS: Starting pitchers Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner went on the 15-day DL with arm injuries. GM Jim Hendry said the right-handers won't throw for two weeks then will be re-evaluated.
DODGERS: 3B Casey Blake, out since injuring his back March 12, was activated and made his season debut.
GIANTS: Closer Brian Wilson, on the DL since March 17 with a strained muscle in his left side, was activated.
MARINERS: 2B Jack Wilson came out of the game in the third inning after falling hard trying to turn a double play in the second.
ORIOLES: RHP Jeremy Guthrie was released from the hospital after being treated for pneumonia, and the team hopes he'll be able to start Sunday.
YANKEES: RH reliever and former Rays closer Rafael Soriano apologized for leaving the clubhouse early Tuesday night after a poor performance that helped lead to a loss to the Twins.