SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. Barry Bonds' alleged steroid use is the story of spring training again, no matter how hard he and the San Francisco Giants try to avoid it and keep the focus on his chase of the home-run record.
Bonds used a vast array of performance-enhancing drugs - including steroids and human growth hormone - for at least five seasons beginning in 1998, according to a book written by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters.
An excerpt from "Game of Shadows," which details the slugger's extensive doping program, appears in the March 13 issue of Sports Illustrated.
"I won't even look at it. For what? There's no need to," Bonds said Tuesday after a workout at Scottsdale Stadium. The Giants said Bonds would not comment further.
The 41-year-old Bonds, who testified before a California federal grand jury investigating steroid use by top athletes, repeatedly has denied using performance-enhancing drugs.
"I've read what was reported," Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, told the Associated Press. "Barry is looking forward to playing this year and the improved health of his knee and being as productive as he's ever been."
Phone messages left by the AP seeking comment from Bonds' attorney and publicist were not immediately returned Tuesday.
"No, no, no, I don't want to talk about Bonds. I'll see you later," San Francisco manager Felipe Alou said after the Giants' 12-3 victory over San Diego in Peoria before bolting onto the bus.
Baseball did not ban performance-enhancing drugs until after the 2002 season, though there long has been suspicion that some star players such as Bonds were taking steroids to gain an edge. This book is yet another distraction for Bonds, who has become as accustomed to steroids questions in recent years as he has inquiries related to his powerful left-handed swing.
"It wasn't illegal," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said in Florida. "The thing we all worry about is the fact that people discount the fact that you put some numbers up. When you put things like that in jeopardy and in doubt, it's not good for the game. Anytime there's a number out there that we've all thought was natural, it taints the game a little. You wonder about the stats. But we don't know how many did it. Maybe everyone did."
Authors Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, who led the newspaper's coverage of the BALCO scandal, recount in remarkable detail the specifics of Bonds' drug regimen, which they write started in 1998 with Winstrol, a powerful steroid also linked to Rafael Palmeiro.
"The Giants have a long-standing policy not to comment on this legal matter," said Staci Slaughter, the team's vice president of communications.
Bonds, a seven-time NL MVP, enters this season with 708 homers, seven shy of passing Babe Ruth and 48 from breaking Hank Aaron's career mark.