Barry Bonds, already under investigation for lying under oath about his steroid use, failed a test under Major League Baseball's amphetamine policy last season and then initially blamed it on a teammate, the Daily News has learned.
Under the policy, which went into effect only last season, players are not publicly identified for a first positive test.
But according to several sources, when first informed by the MLB Players Association of the positive test, Bonds attributed it to a substance he had taken from the locker of teammate Mark Sweeney. Sources did not identify the drug in question but characterized it as a serious stimulant.
When asked last night whether Bonds had an explanation for why he failed the test or if he wanted to issue a denial, Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, said, "I have no comment on that."
Giants officials did not return calls seeking comment last night.
Bonds, who has long defended himself against steroid accusations by saying he "never failed a drug test," did not appeal his positive test, but was immediately subject to an additional six drug tests by MLB over the next six months.
Sweeney declined comment, but his agent, Barry Axelrod, told the News, "Mark was made aware of the fact that his name had been brought up, but he did not give Barry Bonds anything and there was nothing he could have given Barry Bonds."
Bonds was not punished for his transgression, but instead was referred to treatment and counseling. While amphetamines are considered performance-enhancing drugs, they are treated differently than steroids under baseball's drug policy. Had Bonds failed a steroid test, he would have been suspended for 50 games, but under baseball's amphetamine policy no one is publicly identified or suspended until a second positive, which would result in a 25-game suspension. A player is suspended for 80 games for a third positive.
The policy covers a range of stimulants, including the ubiquitous "greenies," or Dexedrine. Benzedrine, ephedrine and the stimulants Ritalin and Adderall, which are used to treat attention-deficit disorder, are among the substances on the policy.
"We're not in a position to confirm or deny, obviously," MLB spokesman Rich Levin said. "A second failed test would mean a suspension."