Barry Bonds’ ex-girlfriend may have contradicted her grand jury testimony yesterday

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If you think (a) the Bonds trial couldn’t get any more cringe-worthy; and (b) I couldn’t find a way to make a second post about Barry Bonds’ testicles today, well, you’re quite mistaken.

After a couple of witnesses took the stand this morning, the jury was cleared and Bonds’ lawyers told the judge that Kimberly Bell — Bonds’ ex-girlfriend — testified about Bonds’ testicle shrinkage differently yesterday than she did before the grand jury.  Back in 2003, Bonds’ lawyers say, Bell said Bonds’ testicles shrunk by 50%. Yesterday she said that they had shrunk, but not by as much.

The issue here is that Bonds’ lawyers are accusing the prosecution of withholding critical information. Specifically, that a key witnesses testimony was going to be different in front of the grand jury than it was at trial.  While this doesn’t seem like a major deal on the surface — the less specificity we hear about Bonds’ testicles the better — the judge said this concerned her during the back-and-forth a few minutes ago. If the defense knew that Bell would present a moving target, it may have changed their entire case theme. And it would have made cross-examination of her a fundamentally different deal than the on-the-fly way it was dealt with yesterday.

The court is in recess at the moment, but it would not be at all shocking if at some point — maybe even after the break — the defense moved for a mistrial on the grounds that evidence was withheld. I’d be surprised if the motion was granted. There are ways to remedy this short of that, such as striking Bell’s testimony and/or making some sort of statement about it to the jury. But either way, it’s a serious issue and, even in the likely event that the case goes on, it could be damaging to the prosecution and could be a potentially major appeal issue for an appeals court that has been fairly pro-Bonds in previous rulings.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

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The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.

In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.

The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.

Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”

It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.

It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.