Barry Bonds has until March 21 to file written arguments in his appeal to overturn his obstruction of justice conviction.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in setting a briefing schedule, said federal prosecutors will have until April 20 to respond. After that, Bonds' lawyers will have another 14 days to file a reply brief if they choose to do so.
Bonds' appeal will be randomly assigned to a three-judge panel that will hear oral arguments this year. A decision is not likely until 2013.
The briefing schedule was contained in a brief order filed by the 9th Circuit on Dec. 22, the day Bonds filed his notice of appeal with the lower court. March 21 will be the first anniversary of the start of Bonds' trial.
The home run king was sentenced Dec. 16 by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston for his April conviction of a charge of giving an evasive answer to a federal grand jury in 2007 that was investigating steroids distribution. The jury failed to reach a unanimous agreement on three counts accusing Bonds of making false statements when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs and said he allowed only doctors to inject him. Those charges were dropped in August.
Bonds, a seven-time NL MVP, was sentenced to 30 days of home confinement, two years of probation, 250 hours of community service in youth-related activities and a $4,000 fine.
Illston's written sentence, also filed Dec. 22, specifies Bonds may not own or possess "dangerous weapons'' but goes on to make an exception: "The defendant can possess baseball bats.''