HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Failure Leaves a Testy Barry
Pubdate: Thu, 11 Jan 2007
Source: New York Daily News (NY)
Copyright: 2007 Daily News, L.P.
Author: T. J. Quinn, Daily News Sports Writer
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Barry Bonds, already under investigation for lying under oath about
his steroid use, failed a test under Major League Baseball's
amphetamine policy last season and then initially blamed it on a
teammate, the Daily News has learned.

Under the policy, which went into effect only last season, players are
not publicly identified for a first positive test.

But according to several sources, when first informed by the MLB
Players Association of the positive test, Bonds attributed it to a
substance he had taken from the locker of teammate Mark Sweeney.
Sources did not identify the drug in question but characterized it as
a serious stimulant.

When asked last night whether Bonds had an explanation for why he
failed the test or if he wanted to issue a denial, Bonds' agent, Jeff
Borris, said, "I have no comment on that."

Giants officials did not return calls seeking comment last

Bonds, who has long defended himself against steroid accusations by
saying he "never failed a drug test," did not appeal his positive
test, but was immediately subject to an additional six drug tests by
MLB over the next six months.

Sweeney declined comment, but his agent, Barry Axelrod, told The News,
"Mark was made aware of the fact that his name had been brought up,
but he did not give Barry Bonds anything and there was nothing he
could have given Barry Bonds."

Bonds was not punished for his transgression, but instead was referred
to treatment and counseling. While amphetamines are considered
performance-enhancing drugs, they are treated differently than
steroids under baseball's drug policy. Had Bonds failed a steroid
test, he would have been suspended for 50 games, but under baseball's
amphetamine policy no one is publicly identified or suspended until a
second positive, which would result in a 25-game suspension. A player
is suspended for 80 games for a third positive.

The policy covers a range of stimulants, including the ubiquitous
"greenies," or Dexedrine. Benzedrine, ephedrine and the stimulants
Ritalin and Adderall, which are used to treat attention-deficit
disorder, are among the substances on the policy.

"We're not in a position to confirm or deny, obviously," MLB spokesman
Rich Levin said. "A second failed test would mean a

Sources said Sweeney, a first baseman/outfielder, first heard about
the test when Gene Orza, the chief operating officer of the players
association, called to say the player's name had been dragged into the

Orza told Sweeney that if he had anything troublesome in his locker,
he should remove it and that he should not be sharing substances with
other players. Sweeney told Orza that there was nothing in his locker
that would be of concern, sources said.

Axelrod would not comment on the conversation between Orza and
Sweeney. Orza also refused to comment on what he said to Sweeney or
about Bonds' failed test, but added, "I can say unequivocally in my 22
years I've known Barry Bonds he has never blamed anyone for anything."

Sweeney apparently confronted Bonds, and Bonds told him that Orza had
misunderstood, that he had not intended to implicate his teammate.

Bonds has been in the doping spotlight since September 2003, when
federal agents raided the BALCO lab and the home of Bonds' personal
trainer, Greg Anderson. Bonds testified before a grand jury in the
steroid-trafficking case that he had taken substances identified by
the government as steroids, but that he believed they were legal
supplements. A Daily News reporter overheard part of his testimony
that day admitting he had unknowingly used steroids, and a year later
the San Francisco Chronicle published extended excerpts from the grand
jury transcripts.

The leaks about Bonds' steroid use were not sufficient evidence to
allow MLB to test Bonds for cause, but the failed amphetamine test

BALCO founder Victor Conte, Anderson and three other men served prison
sentences for their parts in the trafficking ring, and Bonds has been
under investigation for perjury and tax evasion for more than two
years. Anderson is in prison on a contempt charge for refusing to
testify against his longtime friend.

Long before steroids took hold in clubhouses in the early 1990s,
amphetamines were the performance-enhancer of choice in baseball. Even
when baseball first adopted a steroids policy in 2003, amphetamines
were not specifically banned or tested for, although many are illegal
without a prescription.
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