Bonds wants to finish career in San Francisco

Updated: August 21, 2006, 8:38 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds' preference is simple: He wants to finish his career with the Giants.

"My choice is not to leave San Francisco."
Barry Bonds

"That's my choice and you guys make it sound like it's our decision," Bonds said to reporters before Sunday's series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers. "We don't make the final decision."

Given the day off after playing Friday and Saturday nights, Bonds discussed a number of issues as he sat in front of his locker watching golf on TV.

Bonds is in the final season of a $90 million, five-year contract with San Francisco and knows he might have to go to the American League as a designated hitter next year -- if he returns at all.

"I've been playing professionally for 21 years," he said. "I have to start thinking about things. I have to sit down with my family and my wife. There are a whole deal of mixed emotions. I have to be fair to myself and to my family's decision."

Left Field
San Francisco Giants

99 16 50 51 .443 .235

The 42-year-old slugger's quest to top the home run list -- he's 31 shy of Hank Aaron's 755 -- has been slowed since three knee operations last year limited him to 14 games in 2005. Sometimes his back hurts too much to play. He knows he's not the same player he was in 2004, when he hit 45 home runs and won the last of his seven MVP awards.

"As far as playing every day, I can't do it," Bonds said. "I have to give my body at least 24 hours to recover. But I can still hit. I know what I can do on a baseball field. I can still play this game. I have no doubt in my mind. Unfortunately, I've just had some injuries."

Bonds also faces an array of problems that have nothing to do with his health. Government lawyers are investigating whether he lied under oath when he told an earlier grand jury he didn't know whether the substances his personal trainer gave him were steroids.

The grand jury investigation also reportedly is focused on whether Bonds paid taxes on the sale of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of sports memorabilia.

This season, he's batting .235, far below his average mark of .298. With 41 strikeouts he's already matched his total for all of 2004, in which he also walked a major league record 232 times.

"There's no disappointment; my season is what it is," he said. "I'm still playing baseball. My mind is not on those other things right now. My mind is on trying to come back and win this damn division."

Bonds' next game will be his 100th this season and the 2,830th of his career, matching Harold Baines for 16th all-time. He needs three doubles to match Robin Yount (583) for 15th and nine homers for 733, which would match Aaron for the National League record.

He knows becoming a DH would allow him to play more often. But he's also committed to the fans in San Francisco, the only ones in baseball who treat him as an icon.

"My choice is not to leave San Francisco," he said. "I'm going to wait though, do some things. I'll let you guys know, and I'm pretty sure [the Giants] will let you know, too."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press