With conditioning, Bonds could play most of '06

Updated: October 2, 2005, 5:41 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants general manager Brian Sabean thinks Barry Bonds could be physically ready to play around 120 games for San Francisco next season.

Barry Bonds
AP photoBarry Bonds hopes to kiss about 40 pounds goodbye this winter.
Sabean and Bonds both have acknowledged the slugger needs an intense conditioning program over the winter to shed some weight Bonds put on while recovering from three operations this year on his right knee.

Sabean hinted that Bonds might continue to work with physical therapist Clive Brewster in Los Angeles this offseason under the direction of Angels' team orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum, the pair who oversaw Bonds' rehabilitation for two months this summer in Southern California.

"It's reasonable to think he can play 120 games," Sabean said Sunday before the Giants' final game of the year against Arizona. "Now, will we be in a position to have to rest him and be conscious that he's going to come in some days cranky and not be able to go? The next step is to get him in spring training and get him in a position to be able to do that. I think he wants that."

Bonds, who turned 41 in July, shut it down for the final four games of the season including a three-game weekend series against the Arizona Diamondbacks after playing in 14 games this season with 13 starts in left field -- all last month. The seven-time NL MVP batted .286 (12-for-42) with five home runs and 10 RBIs, drawing nine walks and striking out six times.

He has 708 career homers, third on the all-time list behind Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755), Bonds' baseball hero. Bonds homered in four straight games Sept. 16-21.

Bonds said in a recent interview he would like to get his playing weight down to around 200, which would mean losing approximately 40 pounds this winter. He was at 185 as a rookie in 1986, but hasn't been close to that in years.

"I think we all know he can still hit," Sabean said. "Again, he never had a spring training and he had no rehab assignment. So, it's pretty impressive not so much that the skills are still there, but for him to get back on the field to whatever degree, it spurs him to next year and more so how it translated to help the ballclub, I think is good for everybody. I really believe especially a position player no matter how great you are, it's very difficult to take a whole year off.

"He now knows, not that he wouldn't have if he had played, he knows firsthand that he's still the force he was before he missed all this time."

As far as Bonds potentially making a switch to the American League to become a designated hitter, Sabean doesn't expect it to happen.

"He has never made an overture he wants to be anywhere but here," Sabean said. "He's told everybody in the past he wants to retire as a Giant."

Manager Felipe Alou is already envisioning his every day lineup for next season with Bonds in the cleanup spot followed by the skipper's son, Moises.

"We believe Barry is going to come back healthy and better than this year," Alou said.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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