Other ballplayers players to testify against Barry Bonds

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The judge in the Barry Bonds case is going to allow other ballplayers who worked with Greg Anderson to testify, with the idea that if they knew what they were taking, Bonds probably did too:

In a ruling filed Monday, Illston wrote that the athlete witnesses would provide evidence that “is relevant to the question of guilt or innocence in this case.” Prosecutors say those witnesses will testify that Anderson gave them performance-enhancing drugs, told them how to use those drugs and explained the efficacy of those substances. At the trial, the prosecutors plan to argue that Bonds, like Anderson’s other clients, was “not unwittingly duped into taking steroids.”

I tend to think that’s somewhat problematic in a guilt-by-association sense, but it’s coming in now and the cumulative effect of Anderson clients saying that they knew what as going down is going to be pretty bad for Bonds.  That is, unless the prosecution actually calls Benito Santiago, who testified thusly:

Santiago was asked, “Did he ever tell you that the things he was giving you were steroids or had steroidlike effects?” He answered no.

He was then asked: “So, I’m sorry I have to ask, you injected those items into your body, but didn’t know exactly what they were. Is that correct?”

He answered, “Believe it or not.”

Indeed, Bonds’ lawyers say that six of the seven ballplayers the prosecution is going to call testified at the grand jury that Anderson never specifically told them he was giving them steroids.

That said, we don’t have the totality of their testimony, so it’s hard to say what to think of this. It’s silly to think that the prosecution would fight hard to get these dudes on the stand if they truly said they were ignorant. It may be that Bonds’ lawyers are cherry-picking here and that the entirety of their testimony shows them to be hip to what was going down (“no, he never told me it was steroids, but I wasn’t born yesterday …”).  Obviously if these guys were saying exactly what Barry Bonds is saying, Bonds’ lawyers wouldn’t have tried to bar them from testifying.

I think the most interesting thing about all of this, however — and about the Clemens trial too — is the ballplayer vs. ballplayer dynamic. Hearing ballplayers talk one gets the sense that they would rather die than to throw another ballplayer under the bus, even if they hate the other ballplayer. Now they have little choice. I bet they make for some of the more nervous and uncomfortable witnesses around.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.