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Bonds to Play in '07, Agent Says

September 27, 2006|Tim Brown | Times Staff Writer

Barry Bonds will continue his pursuit of all-time home-run leader Hank Aaron next season, with contract discussions expected to begin with the San Francisco Giants as early as next week, the agent for the 42-year-old slugger said Tuesday.

Bonds recently expressed optimism for a 22nd major-league season after two years spent battling knee injuries, recovering from subsequent surgeries and managing the fallout from implications that he used steroids for at least several seasons.

He tempered talk of a return, however, saying he would confer with his family before making a final decision.

"Barry's going to play in 2007," Jeff Borris of Beverly Hills Sports Council said Tuesday. "I've had many discussions with Barry and he's going to play. My intentions are to see to it he's in a big-league uniform next season. Those are my marching orders."

Bonds, who is in the final days of a five-year, $90-million contract with the Giants, can become a free agent after the season. His 26 home runs this season, including nine in his last 66 at-bats, give him 734, 21 behind Aaron. Though Bonds is expected to have surgery to remove bone chips in his left elbow, he has been told the recovery time is less than a month.

Another season with the Giants or another team -- the Mariners, Tigers, Yankees, Angels and Dodgers are believed to be attractive to Bonds, who lives in Beverly Hills -- and more home runs would bring further media and public inspection of Bonds, who federal investigators believe lied to a grand jury when he testified he had not knowingly taken steroids.

The Giants generally supported him or remained silent on the issue, and Bonds had a decent offensive season, backing a .271 batting average with 77 RBIs and a .457 on-base percentage in 361 at-bats.

"I have every reason to believe the Giants will contact me as soon as the season ends," Borris said.

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