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After long delay, Bonds signs on the dotted line

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Barry Bonds finally signed his $15.8
million, one-year deal and it was approved Thursday by the
commissioner's office, ending more than two months of wrangling
between the slugger and the San Francisco Giants over contract
language.

With both sides satisfied, Bonds is scheduled to report Monday
to spring training. He is likely to participate in the Giants'
first full-squad workout Tuesday.

"I expect he will be ready to go," general manager Brian
Sabean said.

The 42-year-old Bonds is 22 homers shy of breaking Hank Aaron's
career record of 755.

Bonds signed the contract Tuesday, and it was sent overnight
mail to the Giants. The team then faxed a copy to the
commissioner's office for approval.

His agent, Jeff Borris, and the Giants reached a preliminary
agreement on Dec. 7, then spent weeks negotiating the final terms.
The team announced the deal Jan. 29 and Bonds did an interview via
conference call.

But his first contract contained a provision detailing his
responsibilities for promotional appearances and was rejected by
the commissioner's office. Management and the players' association
agreed last year during bargaining not to allow any language in new
contracts regarding promotional appearances other than the standard
clause in all player contracts.

The deal also contained a provision stating the Giants could
terminate the deal in the event Bonds is indicted, language Borris
has said is unenforceable under baseball's labor agreement. A
federal grand jury is investigating whether Bonds perjured himself
when he testified in 2003 in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative
steroid distribution case that he hadn't knowingly taken any
performance-enhancing drugs.

Bonds long has denied knowingly using steroids.

After the first contract was rejected by the commissioner's
office, the Giants sent revised documents to Borris, but Bonds held
off signing the revamped contract. Only the personal-appearance
provision was deleted from the final deal, two baseball officials
said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the
sensitivity of such details.

Bonds will fill the final spot on the team's 40-man roster,
which had stood at 39 after catcher Mike Matheny went on the
voluntary retirement list with a concussion.

The seven-time NL MVP has been working out all offseason at UCLA
and appears as healthy as ever, according to the Giants, Bonds'
trainer and his agent. He had arthroscopic surgery on his
troublesome left elbow after the 2006 season.

After missing all but 14 games in 2005 following three
operations on his right knee, Bonds batted .270 with 26 homers and
77 RBIs and drew 115 walks in 130 games last year.

Borris declined comment.