While Barry Bonds continues to rehabilitate his troublesome left knee, Major League Baseball is conducting its own investigation into the troubled slugger, major league sources told the Daily News.
MLB security officials are convinced that Bonds may be at risk of imprisonment over allegations of tax fraud, and are conducting their own probe into Bonds’ relationships and activities. One official from another club said the San Francisco Giants’ front office “is starting to freak out” over Bonds’ mounting problems.
“I think they realize they’ve let the situation get away from them,” the source said.
A Giants spokesman declined comment, other than to refer to a team statement about Bonds’ medical care.
“At present, Bonds is undergoing aggressive antibiotic therapy prescribed by (infectious diseases specialist) Dr. (Robert) Armstrong. The Giants will continue to carefully monitor Bonds’ progress and give additional updates as events warrant,” the statement said.
But MLB was not happy to hear that yet another Bonds associate – this time Ting, who performed all three of Bonds’ knee surgeries – has had trouble with the law. Because Bonds is under government investigation for perjury relating to his testimony before the BALCO grand jury and possible tax fraud involving allegedly undeclared income from memorabilia sales, baseball’s investigators have found it difficult to conduct their own inquiry, sources said.
“A federal investigation changes everything,” a source familiar with baseball’s efforts said.
Officials aren’t sure where their investigation will lead or what action they would take if they find Bonds has violated baseball’s rules.
Fascinating how the Sultan Of Surly has become such a pariah, even with the team for which he hit 70 HR’s and managed to build and fill a ballpark. The big leather chair in the locker room and prior work with Greg Anderson wasn’t worth objecting to, but the involvement of the supposedly shady Dr. Ting must be crossing a line of some sort. As far as Bonds’ financial dealings are concerned, is he any more or less unethical than say, Jeffrey Loria? During a time in which the game’s integrity is being threatened by factors entirely non-pharmaceutical (ie. the likes of Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay pocketing their luxury tax payments), Barry’s autograph show hustle shouldn’t be such a huge concern. That the IRS are interested is no surprise. That the league is so quick to hang Bonds out to dry by leaking the above story, doesn’t seem particularly fair, however.