Bonds to be investigated for steroids by MLB

By Ronald Blum The Associated Press

NEW YORK – Baseball began its investigation yesterday into alleged steroid use by Barry Bonds and others, and the head of the inquiry immediately came under attack because of his close ties to the sport.

In the wake of a searing book about Bonds, commissioner Bud Selig appointed former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell – and currently a director of the Boston Red Sox – to lead the investigation.

The probe initially will be limited to events since September 2002, when the sport banned performance-enhancing drugs, but Mitchell has the authority to expand it.

Selig said Mitchell’s report will be made public but didn’t set a timetable. By then, Bonds may well have passed Babe Ruth’s home-run mark on the way toward Hank Aaron’s all-time record.

“The goal here is to determine facts, not engage in supposition, speculation, rumor or innuendo,” Selig said.

Whatever the findings, it will be hard to penalize anyone for conduct before the steroids ban. Baseball began drug testing in 2003 and started testing with penalties the following year.

At San Francisco’s home ballpark, Bonds wouldn’t discuss the matter.

“I said no, no, no,” he said, shaking his head. “I’m going to jump off the Empire State Building – flat on my face,” he added, laughing.

Mitchell, meanwhile, said he will not resign his position with the Red Sox. He also is chairman of The Walt Disney Co., the parent of ESPN, a national broadcast partner of baseball.

“I don’t think there’s any conflict,” he said in a telephone interview. “I’m going to be independent, have complete independent authority and will act.”