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Giants owner: Bonds wouldn't be centerpiece in '07

SAN FRANCISCO -- If Barry Bonds is back with the San
Francisco Giants next season, and that still seems to be a big if,
owner Peter Magowan said the slugger will not be the centerpiece of
the roster any longer.

"I think we need to go in a new direction," Magowan said
Monday after the club announced manager Felipe Alou's contract
would not be renewed. "We have for a long time had a strategy that
has worked well until the last two years, when it hasn't worked so
well. The strategy has been one of having a great player -- maybe
the greatest player in the game -- at the centerpiece and filling in
with veteran players.

"For a long time that worked well. It caught up with us the
past couple of years. Now we do need to get younger and
healthier."

The Giants have 11 potential free agents and were still in the
process of evaluating who they might want to retain -- and Magowan
made it clear No. 25 wouldn't be wearing a Giants uniform in 2007
just to attract fans at the team's waterfront ballpark.

"It's a tough decision, but the decision's going to be made on
what gives the Giants the best chance to win," Magowan said.
"It's not going to be made on what gives the Giants the best
chance to fill up a ballpark on some marketing situation. I feel
the best marketing is to win.

"Whether Barry fits into that plan or not will depend on
baseball evaluations of whether he will be able to give us a better
chance of winning or not. Not whether or not we have a better
chance of drawing 3 million people to the ballpark to watch him
pursue a home run chase."

The 42-year-old Bonds' $90 million, five-year contract is up
with San Francisco, though he has said he would like to return to
the Giants for a 15th season -- 2007 would be his 22nd in the big
leagues.

Bonds has 734 home runs, 22 from breaking Hank Aaron's career
record of 755, and is eligible for free agency after the World
Series. After missing all but 14 games in 2005 following three
operations on his right knee, Bonds batted .270 with 26 homers and
77 RBI in 367 at-bats in 2006.

"The biggest question is what kind of team we can have with him
or without him," general manager Brian Sabean said. "Some of what
you have to determine, Barry aside, is how are you going to build
your roster?"

Sabean said a cleanup surgery on Bonds' left elbow to remove
bone chips was "pending." Bonds expected to get it done sometime
this week.

Also, Mark Sweeney was scheduled to undergo an arthroscopic
procedure on his left knee soon and minor league pitcher
Merkin Valdez had reconstructive "Tommy John" surgery on his elbow last
week and won't pitch next season, Sabean said.

Starting pitcher Matt Morris, who went 10-15 with a 4.98 ERA in
his first season with the Giants, pitched since August with a
fractured rib on his right side and a stress reaction in two other
ribs on either side. Simple rest should be all Morris needs to be
ready come spring training.

"Matt Morris doesn't want to use this as an excuse for his
performance," trainer Stan Conte said Monday.