Surgery leaves frustrated Bonds at 'square one'
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Coming off knee surgery and caught up in baseball's steroids scandal, Barry Bonds said he may not play at all this season -- despite standing on the doorstep of the sport's most hallowed record.
|“||I'm tired of my kids crying. You wanted me to jump off a bridge, I finally did. You finally brought me and my family down. ... So now go pick a different person. ”|
|— Barry Bonds|
The San Francisco Giants slugger also said he was physically and mentally "done," and blamed the media for at least part of his troubles.
"I'm tired of my kids crying. You wanted me to jump off a bridge, I finally did," Bonds told reporters Tuesday, shortly after returning to training camp. "You finally brought me and my family down. ... So now go pick a different person."
Bonds, whose 703 career homers are 11 short of Babe Ruth's total and 52 behind Hank Aaron's record, was back in camp following last week's arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
Sitting at a picnic table outside the Giants' clubhouse with his 15-year-old son, Nikolai, at his side, Bonds said, "My son and I are just going to enjoy our lives. You guys wanted to hurt me bad enough, you finally got me."
Bonds said he was tired and disappointed following a winter in which he was accused of steroid use, his grand jury testimony was leaked and he had two knee operations.
Manager Felipe Alou said he plans to speak with Bonds on Wednesday.
"It's not a rosy situation for the guy," Alou said Tuesday night after the Giants' 5-3 victory over San Diego. "I want to make sure that's what he said, and then I can comment on it.
"It's tough to have surgery two weeks before the season starts. That's not what anybody wants."
Bonds, eaning his head on a crutch and repeatedly saying he was tired, Bonds spoke after a 1½-hour session with Giants trainer Stan Conte.
"I'm 40 years old, not 20, 30."
Bonds, who set the single-season record with 73 home runs in 2001, underwent a similar operation on the same knee on Jan. 31, but had a setback after workouts in camp earlier this month.
He returned to the Bay Area on March 16 and had surgery last Thursday to repair cartilage. Conte said last Thursday the second operation put Bonds back at "square one."
Conte said Bonds went through a "normal rehab six days out of surgery" on Tuesday, and that his knee looked as expected.
"I expect he'll progress as knee patients go," the trainer said, offering no prediction of when the seven-time NL MVP might be able to play again.
After Bonds' first operation this winter, Conte had said Bonds was expected to be sidelined for six weeks. All the trainer would say after the second surgery was that Bonds was unlikely to be ready for the season opener.
Teammate Moises Alou, who has come back from five surgeries, said Bonds probably was just having a bad day.
"Maybe today he was not very optimistic. I think it was one of those rehab days where you just caught him on one of the bad days," Alou said. "It's not fun when you come to the ballpark, then have to go to the training room to get taped and get treatment.
"It's not as fun as when you are young and wild and doing things, especially when you are the man."
New York Yankees manager Joe Torre understood Bonds' mind-set.
"When you don't feel good, there are a lot of things that take on a different perspective. If it's not fun for him, I don't think the record will be as satisfying," Torre said in Tampa, Fla. "Probably when he starts feeling better, I think maybe he'll change his thinking."
Giants pitcher Jason Christiansen, who had to come back from reconstructive elbow surgery, also understands how facing rehab can be a bit depressing.
"There have been five or six times I've come in and said, 'I don't need this heartache any more.' It's a series of peaks and valleys," Christiansen said. "A week from now, Barry could turn around and say he'll be ready by April 5."
Christiansen realizes there's considerably more focus on Bonds.
"I couldn't imagine what he goes through on a daily basis, reading some of the stuff and hearing what people say about him. It's pretty much a circus," Christiansen said.
Last September, the Giants dropped a provision that would have allowed them to void Bonds' $18 million salary in 2006 if he failed to reach 500 plate appearances this year or 1,500 combined from 2003 to 2005, including at least 400 this year.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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