The Pittsburgh Pirates confirmed they have talked to the Atlanta Braves about a trade involving Barry Bonds, although general manager Ted Simmons said a deal isn't near.
Talks between the two teams began at the winter meetings in December when Larry Doughty was the Pirates' general manager. The Braves discussed trading left-hander Kent Mercker and infielder Jeff Blauser, a deal that didn't interest Doughty.
There is speculation the Braves are offering hard-throwing reliever Mark Wohlers and Brian Hunter, who hit the decisive homer in the Braves' 4-0 victory over Pittsburgh in Game 7 of the National League playoffs.
Bonds can become a free agent after this season. The Pirates have indicated there is little chance of signing him to a long-term contract.
Pirate center fielder Andy Van Slyke, in the first year of a three-year, $12.65-million contract, returned to Pittsburgh for tests to determine the cause of lower back pain that has bothered him since the end of last season.
Bo Jackson, another player beset with injuries, began a week of decision by striking out once and hitting an RBI single against the Orioles' Rick Sutcliffe during Baltimore's 8-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
After limping badly to first base on the hit, Jackson left for a pinch-runner and said, "I can't go on like this. It's no fun getting two at-bats and letting someone run for me. I'm selfish that way. I like to run for myself."
Jackson is expected to clear waivers at 2 p.m., EST, today.
Pittsburgh right-hander Doug Drabek rejected a four-year contract that would have paid him slightly more than the Pirates' initial offer of $18.25 million. Drabek was 15-14 last season with a 3.07 ERA. He was 22-6 in 1990, when he won the National League Cy Young Award.
The New York Mets' Dwight Gooden, recovering from shoulder surgery, pitched live batting practice for about 20 minutes and let loose a few times, nearing 85-90 m.p.h. Gooden might throw during a B game against the Dodgers at Vero Beach, Fla., on Sunday. Met pitcher Wally Whitehurst suffered bruises on his right forearm when struck by a line drive.
American League president Bobby Brown, 67, agreed to a one-year contract extension through Dec. 31, 1993. . . . Former Angel outfielder Brian Downing, now with the Texas Rangers, hit two home runs in a 7-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. . . . Ranger right-hander Nolan Ryan, 45, will make his first spring appearance today.