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Defense team says Bonds 'didn't know'

Barry Bonds admits using steroids during his baseball career, his lawyer told a jury Tuesday. The catch is that Bonds' personal trainer misled him into believing he was taking flax seed oil and arthritis cream.

"I know that doesn't make a great story," Allen Ruby said during his opening statement at the home run leader's perjury trial. "But that's what happened."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Parrella called such claims "ridiculous and unbelievable" and portrayed Bonds as a liar during his first chance to present the government's position.

And so the crux of the criminal case against Bonds was laid before an eight-woman, four-man jury as the testimony phase of the trial got under way. Bonds has pleaded not guilty to four charges of lying to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied knowingly taking steroids and one count of obstruction.

Parrella started the day by saying Bonds lied to the grand jury even though the government promised not to prosecute him for drug use if he testified truthfully.

"All he had to do was tell the truth, Parrella said. "That's all, but he couldn't do it."

Parrella tried to show a deep connection between Bonds and the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, known as BALCO, the Burlingame company at the center of an international sports doping ring that the grand jury was investigating. Five men, including BALCO's founder Victor Conte and Bonds' personal trainer Greg Anderson, pleaded guilty to steroids distribution after a 2003 government raid on BALCO.

Dressed in a dark suit with a light blue shirt, Bonds sat slouched in his chair, his long legs crossed at the ankles and poking out the other side of the defense table.

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Bisons blanked

VIERA, FLA. -- The Buffalo Bisons fell to 0-5 on the spring schedule with a 2-0 loss to the Syracuse Chiefs Tuesday.

The loss for the Herd went to Boof Bonser, who allowed both runs in 3.2 innings of work. Starter John Stinson pitched four shutout innings.

Outfielder Fernando Martinez had two hits for the Bisons, who play the New Orleans Zephyrs at Port St. Lucie today.

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