Federal prosecutors in San Francisco on Thursday cut the number of felony charges Barry Bonds faces from 11 to five.
Major league baseball’s home run leader still faces the same punishment he always has, but the paring of the charges underscored the troubles prosecutors have encountered since indicting him for the first time in 2007 for allegedly lying to a grand jury about his use of steroids. Bonds has pleaded not guilty.
The indictment unsealed Thursday was the third version of the charges against Bonds. The document reflects the hit the government’s case took when the slugger’s personal trainer, Greg Anderson, made clear his willingness to go to jail on contempt of court charges instead of testifying against his former client.
Prosecutors on Thursday removed from the indictment perjury charges that relied on dates found on so-called doping calendars found in Anderson’s apartment that prosecutors allege show Bonds’ drug regimen. Those documents were ruled inadmissible at trial because of Anderson’s refusal to authenticate them on the witness stand.
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In the new indictment, they reduced from nine to three the number of charges alleging Bonds lied under oath when he testified that he never knowingly took performance enhancing drugs.
He is still charged with making false statements for telling the grand jury that no one other than his doctor ever stuck a needle in his body and a catch-all charge that he obstructed the grand jury’s investigation into sports doping with his allegedly misleading testimony.
Federal sentencing guidelines for a first offense on these charges generally call for a total sentence of 15 to 21 months.
SEATTLE GETS RELIEF
The Seattle Mariners signed former Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen to a minor league contract and made him their 23rd non-roster invitee to spring training, which begins on Monday when pitchers and catchers report in Peoria, Ariz.
Delcarmen turns 29 on Wednesday, and has gone 11-8 record with three saves and a 3.97 ERA in 298 career appearances with the Red Sox (2005-10) and Rockies (2010). He appeared in 57 games with the Red Sox and Rockies last season, going 3-4 with a 4.99 ERA.
American League MVP Josh Hamilton agreed to a $24 million, two-year contract with the Texas Rangers four days before his arbitration hearing. He gets a $3 million signing bonus, a $7.25 million salary this year and $13.75 million in 2012, after which he becomes a free agent. The Angels defeated pitcher Jered Weaver in salary arbitration, with the pitcher getting a raise from $4,265,000 to $7,365,000 instead of his request for $8.8 million. Outfielder Luke Scott and the Orioles have avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a $6.4 million, one-year contract. Free-agent infielder Orlando Cabrera, 36, and the Indians have reached a deal. Infielder Ronnie Belliard, 35, has agreed to a minor league contract with the Yankees.