Barry Bonds Hints At Retirement

San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds tosses his helmet in the air after being called out at second in a double play during the seventh inning of their Major League baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Friday night, April 14, 2006 in Los Angeles. The Giants won 2-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
AP Photo
Barry Bonds hinted at retiring Friday night, but not because of accusations that he is a steroid user or a possible investigation into perjury charges. Instead Bonds, already bothered by a sore knee, said he has bone chips in his swollen left elbow. He said he plans to continue playing with the problem until it forces him out.

Bonds said the bone chips were discovered in spring training, causing him to miss a week. He told before the game that he would continue playing until his arm "blows up."

Asked after Friday's game what he meant, Bonds said, "It means I quit. Gone."

The Giants left fielder said he has "10 to 12 bone chips floating" in his elbow, which he said was swollen to "almost twice the size" of his right elbow. Bonds indicated that he wants to keep playing, as ballplayers with bone chips often do. But he won't undergo surgery to fix the problem.

"I'm going to keep playing until it blows up," said Bonds, who's batting .167 (3 for 18) after going 0 for 2 with two walks Friday night against the Dodgers. "If I have to have a procedure, then I'm done. Finished. That would be it."

Meanwhile, even if Giants slugger Barry Bonds is charged with lying to a grand jury, it will be hard to convict him, former federal prosecutors and other lawyers said.

"It is a lot tougher to make a perjury case than most people think because it takes more than just proving that the person made a statement that was untrue," said Adam Hoffinger, a criminal defense lawyer in Washington D.C. "The government has to prove that he knowingly and willfully lied about a material fact, it can't be a mistake, there has to be intent."

A federal grand jury is investigating whether Bonds committed perjury when he testified in 2003 that he never used steroids, a person with knowledge of the probe told The Associated Press on Thursday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of the investigation.

Bonds, who is chasing Hank Aaron's home run record, was granted immunity to testify truthfully before a grand jury in December 2003 investigating a Northern California steroid distribution ring based at the company called the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative, or BALCO.

According to excerpts of testimony previously reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Bonds testified that he used a clear substance and a cream given to him by a trainer convicted in the case, but said he didn't know they were steroids.