Wells unimpressed with Bonds’ exploit


PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Count David Wells among those unimpressed by Barry Bonds’ move up the all-time home run list.

The outspoken Boston pitcher had harsh words for Bonds, who tied Babe Ruth for second all-time with his 714th home run Saturday. The San Francisco slugger has come under intense scrutiny because of alleged steroid use.

“He’s hit a few home runs off me while he was juiced. Look at him, the man is enormous,” Wells said Saturday. “Still, he’s a hell of a ballplayer. He’s got to deal with it, not me.”

A grand jury in San Francisco is investigating whether perjury charges are warranted for Bonds’ earlier testimony that he used designer performance-enhancing drugs the “clear” and “cream” but thought it was flaxseed oil.

“He’s admitted taking it, but not knowingly. I think that’s a crock,” Wells said. “I would never take something without knowing what I was putting in my body. There’s no way. I don’t think anyone in here would put something in their body without knowing what the effect could be.”

Wells also had an opinion on Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro, saying, “Since the steroid scandal, the numbers have dropped. Guys have retired because they couldn’t handle the pressure and the flak they were taking. Heard Sammy Sosa’s name lately? Rafael Palmeiro? Sammy didn’t do (anything) in Baltimore. Obviously, he was guilty as charged, but he didn’t get caught. To me, if you’ve cheated as a player, that’s as bad as being a scab.”

Sosa is fifth with 588 homers and Palmeiro is ninth with 569.

Nonetheless, Wells doesn’t think Bonds should get an asterisk for his records just yet.

“Not until proven guilty,” Wells said. “Steroids or no steroids, they’re not going to make you hit the ball better. If you do hit the ball, there’s a better chance you’re going to hit it out because you’re stronger.”

Wells also mentioned Philadelphia’s David Dellucci and Houston’s Craig Biggio in his comments. Dellucci has 74 career homers. The 40-year-old Biggio has 264 homers while batting mostly out of the leadoff spot.

“I find it odd that we do have guys that finger-point without knowing the truth and facts,” Dellucci said before Sunday’s game.

A year after hitting a career-best 29 homers with Texas, Dellucci has gone deep once this season in a part-time role for the Phillies. The fact he’s only batted 35 times is a major reason for Dellucci’s decline.

After a rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket in Scranton on Sunday afternoon, Wells blasted reporters, saying his remarks about Dellucci were taken out of “context.”

“I’ve known David for a long time. I’ve been a teammate,” Wells said. “The guy busts (it) in the gym, and he works out hard. We were just making conversation. I wasn’t accusing him or anything of the sort. I think that he should be cleared, and I feel bad for him. He shouldn’t have to go through all that.”

Wells said he tried calling Dellucci and he plans to stop speaking to reporters from now on.

A day earlier, Wells told reporters: “Did you see that little bitty guy, Dellucci, hit 29 last year? How many this year? One? I know Dave. I’ve never suspected him of doing them. Who else? Biggio. To me, the suspicion is on everybody.”

Dellucci, listed at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, hit 27 homers in 541 career games from 1997-2003, then 46 over 235 games the next two seasons, including 29 last year.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona apologized to Dellucci on Sunday morning.

“Out of respect to David Dellucci, I said I was sorry. Out of respect to David Wells, he talked to a member of our organization and he said he was misconstrued,” Francona said. “I respect Dellucci. I’ve seen him work so hard to become a good player. From what everybody tells me, he’s one of the good guys to have on a team.”

Dellucci said Francona showed a lot of class.

“I appreciated it,” he said. “For him to come over shows how ridiculous the comments were.”

Wells is no stranger to controversy. Last year, he called commissioner Bud Selig an “idiot” in spring training and was suspended six games in August for criticizing Selig’s handling of baseball’s steroid problems.

Wells has been sidelined with a knee injury since April 16.

He pitched five innings for Pawtucket, allowed four hits, two earned runs, walked one and struck out three. Wells is 227-144 with a 4.07 ERA in 19 seasons with eight teams.

AP-ES-05-21-06 1806EDT