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Monday, January 29, 2007

Bonds signing appears imminent-MLB.com

At 42, it remains to be seen how productive Barry Bonds will be this year. Barry should have no problem breaking Hank Aaron's illustrious home run record later this season, but it will be interesting to see if he can lead his Giants back into the playoffs.

Outfielder in San Francisco on Monday for physical
By Barry Bloom / MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Nearly two months after the San Francisco Giants agreed in principle to re-sign left fielder Barry Bonds for the 2007 season, complicated language in the contract has apparently been completed.

"We're getting closer," said Jeff Borris, Bonds' agent, without getting into details.

Pending passing of a requisite physical, the official signing of the one-year, $16 million deal, which would return Bonds to the Giants for a 15th season, is expected to be announced within days.

A Giants spokesman declined to comment, saying only that the announcement of the signing was not expected on Monday. But it is now evident that, barring any physical problems, familiar No. 25 will be back in the cleanup spot this season as Bonds continues his pursuit of Hank Aaron's Major League all-time home run record.

Borris said that Bonds is in good physical condition.

According to The Associated Press, Bonds was in San Francisco on Monday to take that physical. He had surgery to remove bone chips from his left elbow at the conclusion of the 2006 season and is fully recovered from the trio of arthroscopic surgeries on his right knee that shortened his 2005 season to 14 games.

Bonds earned $18 million in 2006, the last of a five-year, $90 million contract.

Bonds goes into 2007 with 734 homers, 21 behind Aaron's magic 755. Bonds hit his 715th to pass Babe Ruth for second place on the all-time list on May 28 at AT&T Park against the Rockies.

The Giants, who have agreed to sign 10 free agents this offseason, had trouble closing the deals with all of them because of guarantee language in the contracts that their representatives found objectionable.

John Boggs, the agent for outfielder Dave Roberts, who agreed to move from San Diego, said recently that the language had been rescinded and that his client had moved forward to close his deal.

Unlike Bonds, the other nine free agents had signed term sheets, binding each player to the club. Bonds, instead, declined to sign a term sheet until all of the language was negotiated, although Borris said that all economic terms had been resolved on Dec. 7, the night Bonds agreed in principle to return to the club.

The unsigned term sheet became an issue when it was reported earlier this month that Bonds had failed an amphetamines test last season. But any failed test is handled under rules of the Basic Agreement and no Major League club can penalize a player above and beyond those rules.

For an initial failed amphetamines test, a player goes into a clinical tract and is subject to increased testing. A second failed test nets a 25-game penalty.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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