Barry Bonds` penchant for turning longtime friends into bitter enemies might come back to hurt him in at least two significant ways at trial.
First, there`s Steve Hoskins. He was once Bonds` closest friend and served as best man at the slugger`s first wedding.
Then, there`s Kimberly Bell, the home run king`s girlfriend of 10 years, who dated him even after his first wedding. In fact, Hoskins` sister introduced Bell to Bonds after a San Francisco Giants game in 1994.
Each had a nasty falling out with the notoriously prickly slugger, and each is now expected to be a key witness for the prosecution if Bonds goes to trial for perjury and obstruction of justice. He was indicted last week for allegedly lying when he told a federal grand jury he never knowingly used performance enhancing drugs, and is likely to face prison time if convicted.
Hoskins and Bell each claim to have firsthand knowledge of Bonds` steroid use, making them extremely valuable witnesses. Yet both also are vulnerable to attack by Bonds` lawyers because of their severed relationships with the former Giants star and their own personal problems.
* Vladimir Guerrero finally will have some protection in the batting order. The Los Angeles Angels, who have been trying to land another strong hitter for several years, agreed to a five-year, $90 million deal late Wednesday with free agent Torii Hunter, who hit .297 with 28 homers and drove in 107 runs for Minnesota this year. he deal is subject to Hunter`s passing a physical. A seven-time Gold Glove winner, the 32-year-old Hunter will be the everyday center fielder and hit in the middle of the lineup, making it tougher for opposing pitchers to pitch around Guerrero. Although Hunter`s arrival seems to make last season`s center fielder, Gary Matthews Jr. odd man out in an outfield with Guerrero in right and Anderson in left, Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said it would give him more options.