Mitchell urges players to cooperate

Mitchell urges players to cooperate

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds and other players under suspicion of using performance enhancing drugs have been asked by Major League Baseball's lead steroids investigator to turn over medical records and submit to interviews.

A letter urging the cooperation of Bonds and other players tied to the BALCO scandal was sent Feb. 1 by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, who is leading baseball's steroids inquiry. The letter, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday on it Web site, was accompanied by medical waiver forms that, if signed, would allow investigators to view Bonds' and other players medical records.

Members of Congress have told Mitchell they might intervene if baseball's own investigation is hampered by lack of player cooperation.

Bonds' lawyer, Michael Rains, told the Chronicle that Bonds cannot cooperate as long as he remains the focus of a possible perjury indictment. Rains did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press on Sunday night.

Rains said Bonds wanted to help but could not do so while facing possible indictment on perjury charges related to his testimony before a grand jury investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), the Northern California lab that allegedly provided performance-enhancing drugs to the athletes.

Bonds reportedly told the grand jury he thought Anderson had given him flaxseed oil and arthritic balm, rather than the BALCO steroids known as "The Clear" and "The Cream." A federal grand jury is investigating him for possible perjury and obstruction of justice charges.

The Chronicle published stories in 2004 that reported Bonds and Gary Sheffield testified they didn't knowingly take the drugs.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig ordered baseball's investigation in March 2006.