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Monday, July 8
Updated: July 10, 8:30 PM ET
In interview, Bonds says he uses creatine, protein pills news services

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants' home run king Barry Bonds says he's used creatine supplements and protein pills, according to a televised interview.

Barry Bonds

Bonds' acknowledgment he took the legal supplements comes in the face of much criticism and scrutiny about steroid use among Major League Baseball players.

Creatine is an amino acid produced naturally by the liver and kidneys and stored in muscles. Athletes often take supplements to gain extra energy, train longer and bulk up.

"Definitely. I take supplements. I have taken creatine, protein pills and amino acids. To replenish your body is very important,'' Bonds told Lisa Guerrero of Fox Sports Net in an interview that was expected to air Wednesday evening.

Bonds has repeatedly denied using steroids.

Retired major league sluggers Ken Caminti and Jose Canseco have both said recently that steroid use is widespread among professional baseball players.

Bonds' agent and Giants officials could not be reached for further comment on the outfielder's supplement use.

Some players around the league have taken issue over suspicion that steroids are the reason for the offensive explosion in baseball over the last few years.

"Guys that work their butts off and they're hitting home runs, now it's because they're on steroids," New York Yankees slugger Jason Giambi said Monday. "Even injuries. A guy gets hurt, 'Oh, he's on steroids.'

"It's a little sickening to me."

Like it or not, the steroid question is hanging over baseball. Former Most Valuable Players Jose Canseco and Ken Caminiti have admitted using steroids, so now every player who has a spectacular season or bulks up is suspect. Canseco estimated that 85 percent of players use steroids.

The issue dominated the All-Star Game media session Monday, with even the scrawniest of players asked if steroids are tainting the game. And it can't help that baseball's own ad at Miller Park shows Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and Richie Sexson as puffed-up cartoon characters.

"It shouldn't be in the game," said Scott Rolen of the Philadelphia Phillies. "What I don't know is how you get rid of them."

While the NBA, NFL, NCAA and Olympics have random drug testing, Major League Baseball does not. But the call for testing is growing, with even the players saying it might be time.

According to a USA Today survey, 79 percent of major league players would agree to independent testing for steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

Players weren't that outspoken Monday, with many preferring to withhold judgment until their union makes a decision.

At a union meeting Monday in Rosemont, Ill., players discussed the owners' proposal to test for steroid use and said they would try to get a sense from teammates on what the union position should be. Union leader Donald Fehr said the issue has come up in the bargaining and will be dealt with.

"I think the majority of players are for it," San Francisco Giants reliever Robb Nen said. "I have no problem with it. You know what? Let's do it."

It's not that simple. While owners have proposed testing for steroids, the players' association has traditionally resisted random testing, saying it would violate individual rights.

Just 17 percent of the players polled back the union's stance, USA Today said. Of 750 players polled from June 12-23, 556 responded to at least one question, the newspaper said.

"We're not against it," said Atlanta pitcher Tom Glavine, the National League player representative. "We're just taking precautions and making sure it's done right. ... We need to be patient and make sure we do it right."

There are a lot of issues that need to be discussed, Boston shortstop Nomar Garciaparra said. Who would do the testing? Will results be kept private? Or will they be leaked to the media? What about false positives?

"You think it's going to be confidential? I laugh at that," Garciaparra said. "Is there anything private in this world anymore? Especially with who we are?"

But most players admit something has to be done. Steroid use might not be as widespread as Canseco claimed -- "I would bet virtually everything I have that it's not," Glavine said -- but players said they know there are some using performance-enhancing drugs.

According to USA Today, 44 percent of the players said they felt pressure to take steroids.

"It's definitely there. There are guys doing it," said Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox.

Even if it's only a few, it casts suspicion over everybody. The recent rise in home runs -- Roger Maris' single-season record stood for 37 years, but it took only three years for Bonds to pass Mark McGwire -- has many wondering if it's better hitters or simply better pharmacists.

The game's biggest sluggers are lightning rods for suspicion, no matter how many denials they issue. A Sports Illustrated columnist even gave Sosa the name of an independent laboratory and asked him to get tested. Sosa angrily refused.

"That was a tough spot for Sammy to be in," Houston Astros outfielder Lance Berkman said. "When you're a member of a union, you have other people to think about."

Mandatory, league-wide testing might be the only way to settle the question, Kansas City Royals outfielder Mike Sweeney said.

"If you're a player that is clean and other players are out there who are not clean, it gives the other players an unfair advantage," Sweeney said. "In Major League Baseball, they're talking about disparity, creating a level playing surface. That's one way to create it, among the players at least."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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