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Bonds speaks on steroids again

Barry Bonds still believes baseball has far more important issues to discuss than steroid use, though the San Francisco Giants slugger is saddened by stories of children using performance-enhancing substances.

In an informal conversation with reporters from the Oakland Tribune and ESPN Thursday in Scottsdale, Ariz., Bonds restated many of the same positions on steroids, records, and the media that he voiced in a news conference last week.

He also repeated his position on performance-enhancing substances: They're not a big deal.

"You're talking about something that wasn't even illegal at the time," Bonds said. "All this stuff about supplements, protein shakes, whatever. Man, it's not like this is the Olympics . . . We're entertainers. If I can't go out there and somebody pays $60 for a ticket, and I'm not in the lineup, who's getting cheated? Not me.

"So we all make mistakes. We all do things. We need to turn the page. We need to forget about the past and let us play the game. We're entertainers. Let us entertain."

But Bonds showed concern for children involved in steroids.

"It busts me up when they show some teenager who's been on steroids and his life is suddenly messed up," said Bonds.

Bonds didn't say he had used steroids -- and he also said his head hasn't grown in recent years. Certain hormones can cause head growth.

"What's all this about my head size?" Bonds asked. "My hat size is the same today as when I started. I've always been a 7 1/4 to a 7 3/8 my whole career."

Aces high
Former Red Sox aces Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe enjoyed impressive performances in their spring training debuts yesterday. Martinez allowed two runs (one earned), three hits, and struck out three over three innings in the New York Mets' 7-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Jupiter, Fla. Martinez threw 60 pitches, a lot for a veteran's first outing. "That's what we planned to do," he said. "Everything went just like we planned." New Dodger Lowe fired three scoreless innings but the Braves came back to beat Los Angeles, 3-2, in Kissimmee, Fla. "When you're with a new organization, you've only got one chance to make a first impression," said Lowe . . . Nomar Garciaparra hit a two-run homer to lead the go Cubs past the Giants, 8-3, in Mesa, Ariz. . . . Roger Clemens kicked off his 22d major league season with two scoreless innings, leading the Astros to a 5-4 win over the Indians at Kissimmee, Fla. . . . At Bradenton, Fla., new Yankee Carl Pavano pitched two scoreless innings but New York still lost to the Pirates, 9-6 . . . At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sammy Sosa homered in his Orioles debut, but Florida beat Baltimore, 3-1.

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