SAN FRANCISCO — Barry Bonds won a legal victory Friday when the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled prosecutors cannot use key pieces of evidence.
Bonds, the all-time leading home run hitter, has pleaded not guilty to lying to a grand jury in December 2003 when he testified he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs. The trial was scheduled to start in March 2009 but delayed pending the outcome of this appeal.
Last year, Bonds' trainer, Greg Anderson, told the trial court judge he would rather go to jail on contempt of court charges than testify against Bonds. The appeals court ruled some evidence tied to him is hearsay, which is inadmissible, unless he testifies to its authenticity.
That evidence includes three positive steroids tests Anderson delivered to BALCO, the company that supplied performance-enhancing drugs to athletes in several sports.
Prosecutors still have a fourth test, seized by federal agents via MLB's testing program, showing Bonds used the designer steroid THG. They also have a recording Bonds' former personal assistant, Steve Hoskins, secretly made of a conversation with Anderson. In it, Anderson says how he is helping Bonds avoid infections by injecting him in different parts of his buttocks.
Bonds' lead attorney, Allen Ruby, said the next step depends on prosecutors.
"Presumably, the government wouldn't have delayed this case a year and a half unless they thought it was very important," he said.
Lead prosecutors Matt Parrella and Jeff Nedrow, who didn't return calls, could ask the appeals court to reconsider, appeal to the Supreme Court, go to trial or drop the case.
A-Rod out: Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez did not start after an MRI exam revealed tendinitis in his right hip flexor. Manager Joe Girardi said the injury is unrelated to the right hip surgery that cost Rodriguez, who is day to day, a month of last season.
Braves: OF Nate McLouth went on the DL with a head injury after colliding with OF Jason Heyward during Wednesday's game. Also, LF Omar Infante left after fouling a pitch off of his left foot.
Cardinals: Manager Tony La Russa said RHP Jeff Suppan is expected to sign. The starter, released by the Brewers on Monday, helped the Cardinals win the 2006 World Series.
Giants: RHP Todd Wellemeyer went on the DL with a strained right quadriceps. The starter was hurt running out a grounder Thursday.
Indians: C Carlos Santana, the organization's top prospect and among the majors' top prospects, was called up. The switch-hitter hit .316 with 13 homers and 51 RBIs in 57 games at Triple A.
Rangers: LHP Derek Holland, out since May 31 with rotator cuff inflammation, cut short his bullpen session after feeling pain.
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey, out since May 24 with right shoulder inflammation, skipped his scheduled bullpen session because of soreness and won't start Sunday as planned.
Red Sox: 1B Kevin Youkilis sat out with back spasms and is day to day. Also, an MRI exam on the sore right knee of 2B Dustin Pedroia found no injury.
All-Star game: The Associated Press and Kansas City Star reported the 2012 game will be at the Royals' Kauffman Stadium. An announcement is expected next week. MLB had promised the game if Jackson County residents passed a sales tax to pay for a $275 million stadium renovation, which was completed before last season.
Tampa trio signs: Three players drafted out of the University of Tampa signed with the White Sox: C Mike Blanke (14th round), 1B/DH Mike Schwartz (17th) and RHP Austin Evans (23rd), a former Chamberlain High standout. The group was part of a record nine UT players chosen in the draft, more than any other state school. On Thursday, 2B Correy Figueroa, who was not drafted, signed a free agent contract with the Royals.