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Barry Bonds' one-time family friend testifies slugger asked him to research effects of steroids

March 23, 2011 | 11:55 am

A family friend of Barry Bonds who later had a falling-out with the baseball player testified at a federal trial Wednesday that Bonds asked him to research the effects of steroids in 1999 and later complained of soreness from steroid injections.

Steve Hoskins, who grew up with Bonds and later went into business with him, also testified that he secretly recorded conversations he had with Bonds’ personal trainer to prove to Bonds’ father that his son was using steroids.

Bonds, 46, is accused of obstruction of justice and making four false statements in 2003 to a grand jury investigating illegal steroid distribution. Bonds told the grand jury he had not knowingly used steroids.

Hoskins, a key prosecution witness, described trips to Arizona for spring training where he would make arrangements for Bonds’ two girlfriends, one from each coast, to meet him there in addition to his wife and children.

During a trip there in 2000, Hoskins testified that he saw Bonds and his trainer, Greg Anderson, enter the master bedroom of the house where Bonds stayed and saw Anderson emerge with a needle in his hand. Hoskins said he witnessed similar events during other spring training trips as well.

Hoskins, a slight man with a soft voice, said he worried about Bonds’ drug use. Hoskins testified that he had met with Bonds’ doctor to discuss the side effects of steroids and received copies of pages from a medical book on the subject. Hoskins said he gave the information to Bonds in 1999.

As time passed, Bonds’ hands and feet grew and he gained considerable muscle weight, Hoskins said. He recalled one meeting at a ballpark where Bonds became “upset” with Anderson for refusing to inject him. Hoskins said Bonds claimed he would inject himself if Anderson refused.

By 2003, Hoskins said he became “even more concerned because it just seemed to be getting out of hand."

Hoskins testified he wanted to prove to Bonds’ father that his son was using steroids and decided to secretly tape record a conversation with Anderson, Bonds’ childhood friend and trainer who was taken into custody Tuesday for refusing to testify in the trial.

Bonds, wearing a suit and tie as he sat with his lawyers, watched Hoskins closely as he testified.   Hoskins was expected to return to the stand Wednesday afternoon.


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-- Maura Dolan in San Francisco