Rehabbing Bonds 'feeling good'
Says he's working hard to get back for his teammates
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants slugger Barry Bonds arrived at the clubhouse in SBC Park an hour late for his regular rehab on Sunday, the victim of daylight-saving time.Spring forward, fall back. "My wife told me I needed to get out here," Bonds said. "I'm never late." Bonds has obviously sprung forward in the 17 days since he had his right knee scoped for the second time in less than two months to remove damaged cartilage. He strode into the clubhouse without a limp and quickly changed into his workout clothes. "I'm feeling good," he said with a nod and in an obvious upbeat mood. Right now, there's still no projection for Bonds' return. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday, retroactive to March 25. Bonds can come off the list anytime after April 8. The Giants open the season and a three-game series against the Dodgers here Tuesday, which means Bonds will miss at least the first four games. Bonds, starting his 20th Major League season, will not be in the Opening Day lineup for the first time. Before Tuesday's game, though, Bonds will be presented with last year's National League MVP trophy and the Silver Slugger Award for leading the league with a .362 batting average. It was the seventh MVP of his career -- fourth in a row -- and his second Silver Slugger. Bonds also batted .370 to lead the league in 2002. The Giants could have placed Bonds on the 60-day disabled list if they thought he would not be available for the next two months and they needed his spot on the 40-man roster. Earlier in the week, the Giants let go left-hander Wayne Franklin and replaced him on the roster Saturday with left-hander Jeff Fassero. The roster now stands at 40. "We didn't need the roster spot so there was no reason to do it," said Giants general manager Brian Sabean. Contrary to some reports, according to the latest drug policy, no Major League player on the 40-man roster becomes exempt from random steroid testing just because he's on the disabled list. "If you're on the DL you still get tested," said Rob Manfred, MLB's vice president of labor relations and human resources when reached by telephone Sunday. "I don't know why anyone would be reporting it differently." Bonds left the Giants camp during the latter stages of Spring Training and has been working out on his own in the SBC Park training room since then. He has made decent strides, he indicated.
|Barry Bonds / LF|
Weight: 230 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L
"Right now I'm just putting blinders on," Bonds said, illustrating that fact by raising his hands to the side of each eye. "It's tunnel vision. I'm working hard trying to get back here for my teammates. That's the only thing that matters at this point."The Giants have declined to release any new medical news on Bonds' condition. But the 40-year-old Bonds has been working out two to three hours a day, gradually incorporating leg work into regular upper-body exercises and cardiovascular exercises in a therapeutic pool. Bonds had surgery to shave shredded cartilage from both sides of the knee March 17. It was the second such surgery on that knee since Jan. 31 and the third on both knees since the end of the 2004 season. Bonds had surgery to clean debris under his left knee cap this past Oct. 12. The right knee has undergone cartilage repair three times now since 1999. After the most recent surgery, Giants trainer Stan Conte wouldn't divulge what percentage of the cartilage remained in the knee, saying only that there were no areas of "bone on bone." The knee has been described as prone to arthritis. Manager Felipe Alou said Saturday that he hasn't spoken much to Bonds since the most recent surgery. By mid-March, Bonds had built his leg back to the point where he was taking batting practice with the team and partaking in running drills at Scottsdale Stadium. All that has been shut down since the March 17 surgery. "I won't ask him because the surgery is too fresh. Maybe in a few days," Alou said. "I'll know he's feeling better when I see him with a bat in his hands. I haven't seen him with a bat yet." Bonds has two years to go on his current contract and is committed to returning as soon as he has regained 100 percent strength in his right leg. On a personal level, Bonds is eager to resume his pursuit of Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron on the all-time home run list. At 703, Bonds is 11 away from Ruth's 714 and 52 away from Aaron's 755. On a team level, the Giants were built around Bonds with the hope that they can win the World Series this year. Adding Armando Benitez, Omar Vizquel, Mike Matheny and Moises Alou, the team opens the season with an average age of 36.1, the oldest in baseball history. The Giants haven't won the World Series since 1954 when they still played in New York. Bonds, as well, doesn't have a championship ring in his career, the first seven playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He and the team came closest in 2002 when they lost the World Series in seven games to the Angels.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.