Bonds Trial Update: What’s an orchidometer?

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If you haven’t come up with a good name for fantasy team yet, it may be helpful for you to know what an orchidometer is.  According to testimony in the Barry Bonds trial yesterday, it’s a medical instrument used to measure testicles. Yes, that’s a picture of one.

You’re welcome.

The existence of orchidometers was explained to the jury by Larry Bowers of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency as a means of creating a medical foundation for Kimberly Bell — Bonds’ ex-girlfriend — who will testify next week about Bonds’ alleged shriveling berries. I would not be at all shocked if Bell was handed one of these things on the stand next week. It could very well be the “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit” moment of the Bonds trial.  Or at least I’m hoping against hope it is because that post and three dozen others afterwards would write themselves.

Anyway, Bowers explained other steroids side effects too in anticipation of hat size and shoe size testimony. Not that he was unscathed on these topics: under cross examination he admitted that there really are hardly any controlled scientific studies of these things — doctors have ethical problems with doping otherwise healthy people to find out the side effects — but that tests on baboons and anecdotal evidence of East German athletes bear it out. Oh, and of course we have a good decade’s worth of “just look at the size of his head!” baloney from sportswriters pretending that they know the first thing about performance enhancing drugs.

I still don’t understand why Bonds’ lawyers didn’t — on Day One — say “yes, Barry Bonds took steroids. He was unaware of it at the time, but by the time the BALCO investigation made the news, he got a clue.”  Doing so would be wholly consistent with his grand jury testimony as I read it. It would also preempt and make irrelevant all of this talk of his hat size, shoe size and — most importantly — his testicles.  It just seems to me that if the defense is trying to make the case that no, Barry Bonds didn’t ever take steroids, they’re going lose on that point. I read “Game of Shadows.” To deny that Bonds took steroids is to live in fantasy land. They should keep this a case about lying under oath, not drug use.

But then again, if they did that, we wouldn’t have learned what an orchidometer is. And now that I have that knowledge, I really don’t want to go back to a world in which I didn’t.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.