Bonds to work with Giants' hitters
BARRY BONDS will return to the San Francisco Giants from March 9-17, in Scottsdale, Ariz., as a special instructor for the organization's young hitters, it was announced over the weekend.
Bonds has long wanted to take on a more active role with the organization, but the two sides have not been connected in an official capacity since 2007, Bonds' last major league season.
The years since have been filled with performance-enhancing drug allegations, a perjury trial and a felony conviction for obstruction of justice, but the Giants are not worried about Bonds being a distraction.
"He's part of what we'll do here,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's going to be part of the group of instructors, like [Will] Clark, [J.T.] Snow or [Jeff] Kent. He's going to be like the other guys and help where he can.
"I don't have any concerns.''
During an appearance at AT&T Park in San Francisco in 2012, Bonds told reporters that he had approached Giants CEO and president Larry Baer about working for the club in some form. The conversations have continued informally since then, and the Giants felt that the timing was finally right to bring back one the best players in baseball history, albeit one with a complicated history.
"Collectively within the organization, we felt that given Barry's desire to continue to contribute to the Giants, we should be open-minded about giving him the same invite that we have given to other players in the past,'' Baer said Saturday.
Bonds, 49, holds major league records for home runs in a season (73) and career (762), but he was far more than just a slugger. Bonds had a .444 career on-base percentage and stole 514 bases, and in recent years he has on several occasions quietly slipped into the home clubhouse at AT&T Park to dispense hitting advice.
* Outfielder Brett Gardner and the New York Yankees agreed to a 4-year contract worth $52 million. The new pact starts in 2015 and includes a fifth-year club option for $12.5 million and a $2 million buyout. If traded, Gardner would receive $1 million.
The 30-year-old Gardner hit .273 last year with eight home runs, 52 RBI and 24 stolen bases.
Also, shortstop Derek Jeter is set to play his first spring training game of his final season.
Jeter, who has announced he will retire after the season, is scheduled to play when the Yankees host Pittsburgh.
In another matter, the team agreed to a minor league contract with injured closer Andrew Bailey.
* Texas lefthander Matt Harrison conceded that he likely won't be ready to start for the Rangers by the start of the regular season. The lefthander, who hasn't thrown in a week because of stiffness in his neck and back, hopes things are different from last season. He started the opener last year, but then made only one more start.
* Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin is being shut down due to inflammation in his throwing shoulder.