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Giants want Bonds at All-Star Game

Giants want Bonds to be part of All-Star Game

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With the All-Star Game scheduled for July 10 at San Francisco's AT&T Park, the Giants are hoping that Barry Bonds will be included in the festivities, Peter Magowan, their managing general partner, said Friday.

"I feel he will have earned his spot both by what he's done in the game and what he will do this year," Magowan said during a group interview in the dugout at Scottsdale Stadium.

For his part, Bonds, who is beginning his 22nd season -- the last 15 with the Giants -- said he would like nothing better than to be included.

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"That would be nice," Bonds later told MLB.com after the team worked out Friday. "I'm excited about it. San Francisco deserves it. It's a big city, a big market, so it's going to be great. You have to be invited, though, to be a part of it. I hate to make that statement. But sure, I'd love to be a part of it. It's my hometown."

Bonds is a 13-time All-Star, but hasn't participated in the event since 2004, his last of four successive National League MVP seasons. Since then, Bonds has battled through elbow and knee injuries. He's finally overcome both this year as he begins in earnest his chase of Hank Aaron's Major League all-time home run record. Bonds is sitting at 734, 21 behind Aaron's 755.

General manager Brian Sabean joined Magowan by saying it could make matters simple if Bonds is selected to the NL team.

"That wouldn't surprise any of us. It wouldn't be a surprise to me if he hits 40 home runs again this year considering the shape he's in," said Sabean about a player who hit 26 homers last season to tie Ray Durham for the team lead.

Bonds last topped the 40 mark in 2004 when he hit 45 during the season in which he turned 40 years old. Last year's 26 were the most for a player who turned 42 during that particular season. Carlton Fisk, the Hall of Fame catcher, holds the record for 43-year-olds with 18 homers in that particular season. Fisk also hit 18 the year he became 42.

Magowan said Willie Mays, who played in a record-tying 24 All-Star Games, will be part of this year's San Francisco midsummer festivities, adding that Bonds should be there, too.

"I hope his godfather is going to be at the center of these activities," Magowan said. "So if Willie is going to be involved, Barry should have some role to play there. But what I hope instead will happen is that he's chosen to be on the All-Star team."

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There's ample precedent for it even if Bonds doesn't make the team. In 2001, Tony Gwynn, playing in the final season of his career, participated in only 71 games because of a knee injury, but was named as an honorary member of that year's NL squad.

Gwynn didn't play in the game, at Seattle's Safeco Field, but he was a big part of the three days. Mays was added to the NL team as a playing participator in 1973, although he hit .211 in the final season of his 22-year career.

Bonds, who will be 43 on July 24, said he has no way of knowing how well he will play this season. Because of a trio of surgeries on his right knee, he was limited to 14 games near the end of the 2005 season, but hit five homers in his first 36 at-bats. Last year, playing on the recovering knee and with a swollen left elbow that was scoped after the season, he hit those 26 homers, led the NL with 115 walks and topped the Major Leagues with a .454 on-base percentage.

"I'm going to give you my best," Bonds said about his prospects for this season. "Whatever that is, I'm going to give my best. Even if it's not good enough for everybody else, it's going to be my best. You can't please everybody. What's ever out there that I give you, it's really going to be my best."

Asked how things have progressed during the first week of Spring Training, Bonds added:

"I'm doing good, real good. I feel great. My elbow's probably the only thing that's a bit iffy because that's the latest surgery I've had. It's taken a little more time than I anticipated. But I'm older now. I can't get around it. I'm 42, going on 43. It's going to take a little bit longer, that's all. But my legs feel good. That's what's important."

Still, Magowan believes No. 25 will be ready for what could be a historic season. That's why the Giants signed him to a one-year contract that could pay him as much as $20 million. Aside from the homers, Bonds also goes into the season 139 hits shy of 3,000 and 70 RBIs short of 2,000.

"We're very glad to have Barry," said Magowan, setting aside any of the residual acrimony from the offseason's free-agent contract negotiations. "Last year, he couldn't really move at the beginning of the season. His mobility is much better. He's skinnier. He's always highly motivated and he trained hard during the offseason. He's going to have a good year and we're counting on him to."

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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{"content":["spring_training" ] }
{"content":["spring_training" ] }