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If healthy, Bonds could play in 2008

If healthy, Bonds could play in 2008

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It seems to be an ongoing topic at different junctures of recent seasons, but Monday, Barry Bonds said he's considering returning in 2008, if healthy, to play a 23rd Major League season.

The question is certainly germane right now considering the pace of Bonds' play this Spring Training as compared to the last two. Adding a single in three plate appearances during the Giants' 10-5 loss to the Cubs, Bonds is hitting .375 (6-for-16) with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs.

"Let me get through '07 first," Bonds said. "But if I'm healthy, I'll consider coming back."

Bonds equivocated a couple of times when asked the same question in different forms. But asked directly if he'll be back if healthy, Bonds said: "Sure."

Bonds goes into his 22nd season and 15th with the Giants at 734 homers, 21 behind Hank Aaron's Major League record 755. He's also 159 short of 3,000 hits and 70 shy of 2,000 RBIs. Aaron is the only player in Major League history with more than 700 homers, 3,000 hits (he finished with 3,771) and 2,000 RBIs (he had 2,297).

When asked if it was important for him to get 3,000 hits, Bonds nodded his headed in the affirmative.

After watching Bonds run this spring and work through a bout of bronchitis, new Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he wouldn't be surprised if Bonds plays beyond this season.

"He's got a lot of baseball left in him," said Bochy, who has had Bonds in the lineup four games in a row -- two in left field and two as designated hitter. "No question."

Bonds will get the night off Tuesday when the Giants play the A's at Scottsdale Stadium in their only game under the lights this spring. Bochy then will have Bonds back in the lineup as the DH on Wednesday against the Angels in Tempe, Ariz., he said.

Bonds missed two fly balls in the sun during the first inning Monday, making it three on the spring, all at home.

"You can't see what you can't see," said Bonds, who literally lifted up his arms to protect his face and head on Ryan Theriot's first-inning drive to the warning track that turned into a double.

"Maybe they should play all the games at night here so you can see," Bonds said.

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Bonds is playing healthy for the first time since both knees deteriorated in late 2004 as he pursued becoming the third person in Major League Baseball history to reach the 700-homer plateau. He hit his 700th homer on Sept. 17, 2004, but because of the injuries has hit only 34 since.

If not for missing all except 14 games in 2005 after one surgery on his left knee and three on his right, Bonds certainly would have passed Aaron by now.

"I think you're right," Bonds said. "I can't disagree with that."

Be that as it may, Bonds will be 43 on July 24 and knows the clock is running. When asked how long he expected to play last month on the occasion of signing his one-year contract that could be worth as much as $20 million, Bonds said: "Until I'm a hundred."

Now, with his right knee "feeling great," he's saying that 44 may not be out of the question.

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.

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