SAN FRANCISCO — Former New York Yankee Randy Velarde testified Wednesday that he purchased human growth hormone from Barry Bonds’ personal trainer throughout the 2002 season, making him the fourth major leaguer to admit drug use during Bonds’ perjury trial.
Velarde said the HGH gave him more “endurance and strength” and that personal trainer Greg Anderson would help him inject the performance-enhancing drug.
The 48-year-old Velarde was the latest athlete to testify about his desire to work with Anderson because of his connection to Bonds. Like other players, he saw that the home-run king experienced a surge in hitting power after he teamed up with the trainer. Bonds owns the major league records for home runs in a career (762) and a season (73).
None of the players directly testified about Bonds. Instead, prosecutors had the players tell the jury how Anderson supplied them with performance-enhancing drugs along with detailed instructions on how to use the substances. Further, Velarde and former San Francisco Giant Marvin Benard testified that Anderson injected them with drugs.
Velarde, who hit 100 home runs and batted .276 over a 16-year career, spent less than 15 minutes on the witness stand and testified that he never took two designer steroids that prosecutors allege Bonds knowingly used after getting them from Anderson.
Velarde, who played for the Yankees, Angels, Athletics and Rangers, followed Benard to the witness stand Wednesday morning.
Benard, a Bonds teammate with the Giants, testified that Anderson supplied him with the designer steroids dubbed the “clear” and “cream.”
Prosecutors hope to use the players’ testimony to undercut Bonds’ position that Anderson misled him into using steroids by telling the seven-time MVP they were legal supplements. Bonds is charged with three counts of lying to a grand jury when he denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs. He also is charged with one count of lying to the grand jury when he said no one other than his doctor ever injected him.
Anderson himself is in jail on contempt of court charges for refusing to testify, which deprived prosecutors of a trove of evidence connected to the personal trainer. Rather than rely on Anderson’s direct testimony, prosecutors have been left with showing how he dealt with the baseball players who flocked to him for fitness help because of his link to Bonds.
Colorado Rockies first baseman Jason Giambi and his brother, former major leaguer Jeremy Giambi, testified Tuesday about their relationship with Anderson and gave similar accounts of their relationship with him. They said that before the 2003 season Anderson supplied them with steroids designed to evade Major League Baseball’s plan to test players for steroids that season.
Prosecutors listed seven of Anderson’s former baseball clients as potential witnesses, but called only four before turning their attention Wednesday to the tedious but legally necessary task of showing a proper “chain of custody” for two urine samples Bonds provided to Major League Baseball testers in 2003. Prosecutors allege those samples tested positive for “the clear” and they nee d show the samples weren’t tampered with and were properly handled as they changed hands.
Two IRS agents who handled the samples after they were seized from Quest Laboratories and several University of California, Los Angeles, lab workers each took the stand to discuss their role in the chain of custody.
The samples were collected in 2003 as part of an MLB “survey” that season and the program was supposed to keep anonymous any player who tested positive. The samples were also to be destroyed.
But federal agents seized the samples in 2004 and tied them to Bonds, who tested negative during the initial review of the samples. A new test for the “clear” in 2006 allegedly showed Bonds testing positive.