A lawyer for Barry Bonds urged a federal appeals court on Wednesday to toss out the slugger’s obstruction of justice conviction, saying a rambling answer he gave while testifying before a grand jury was not a crime.
Appellate specialist Dennis Riordan argued that Bonds was not formally or specifically charged with the felony that he was convicted of committing.
A federal jury in April 2011 found baseball’s all-time home runs leader guilty of obstruction for saying he was a “celebrity child” when asked about injecting steroids.
Prosecutors asked Bonds during his December 2003 grand jury appearance whether Greg Anderson, his personal trainer, ever gave him “anything that required a syringe to inject yourself with?”
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Bonds referred to his father, former major leaguer Bobby Bonds, when he said “that’s what keeps our friendship. You know, I am sorry, but that — you know, that — I was a celebrity child, not just in baseball by my own instincts. I became a celebrity child with a famous father. I just don’t get into other people’s business because of my father’s situation, you see …”
That particular exchange wasn’t included in the indictment originally released in November 2007. The omission is “the dagger in the heart of this conviction,” Riordan argued.
GREINKE RICHEST NO MORE
The title of highest-paid right-hander in baseball history was taken from Zack Greinke this week, but he had no problem with it.
Asked about the seven-year, $175 million contract Felix Hernandez signed with the Seattle Mariners, Greinke said, “He’s worth it. I’ll tell you right now, he’s a better pitcher than I am.”
Greinke signed a six-year, $147 million deal with the Dodgers in December.
GRANDAL TO APOLOGIZE
Suspended San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal plans to apologize to his teammates this weekend.
Grandal was banned in November for the first 50 games of this season after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He hasn’t publicly discussed the penalty beyond an initial statement.
Grandal hasn’t addressed his connection to a Miami anti-aging clinic associated with performance-enhancing drugs.
The Pirates signed 35-year-old veteran catcher/infielder Brandon Inge to a minor league contract on Wednesday and he received in invitation to spring training. … Mets manager Terry Collins plans to use Bobby Parnell as the team’s closer if Frank Francisco is not ready to pitch on opening day. … Albert Belle, the Indians slugger who was once one of the most menacing hitters in baseball, will be honored by Cleveland with a bobblehead night promotion on June 1 against Tampa Bay.