© 2006 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
10/04/06 5:08 PM ET
Bonds feeling great after surgery
Slugger says he's OK with not playing next year
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- Giants slugger Barry Bonds had bone chips and a bone spur removed from his left elbow on Monday, he told MLB.com on Wednesday when reached by telephone at his home in Beverly Hills. The 15-minute procedure was conducted in San Francisco by Dr. Arthur Ting, the orthopedic surgeon who has done all of Bonds' surgeries on his knees and elbow. Bonds said he has begun rehab and already has some range of motion in the elbow. The rehab should take about two weeks, he said. "I feel great," Bonds said. "It's amazing, there really isn't any swelling. They took out a few little chips and one big one that could have locked up the elbow completely if it got caught in the joint. The doctor said he was amazed that I was able to play with that. But I told him it didn't matter. I was swinging with one arm." Bonds incurred the elbow injury swinging in the batting cage on the field at Scottsdale Stadium near the end of the Spring Training, and it was a recurring problem all season. Even so, Bonds finished the year with a National League-record 735 career homers and 26 on the season, which was tied with Ray Durham for best on the team. That figure was the most ever for a player who celebrated his 42nd birthday during the course of the season and leaves him only 21 behind Hank Aaron's all-time Major League home run record of 755. Although Bonds fell nine plate appearances short of qualifying for the Major League lead in on-base percentage, the Elias Sports Bureau added those appearances to his season-ending total -- determining that even with the extra at-bats he still would have led the league in that category -- and awarded him MLB's top mark at .454. It was the highest on-base percentage since 1894 for a player his age with more than 300 plate appearances. Bonds' 115 walks led the National League, extending his MLB career mark to 2,426. He hit .270 with 23 doubles, 77 RBIs and 74 runs scored in 130 games, amazing totals considering he was hitting .235 as late as Aug. 19. The double in his final at-bat on Sunday was his 99th hit of the year, pulling him within 159 of the 3,000th hit mark. The RBI count has him 69 away from 2,000. The elbow surgery is another indication that Bonds is considering returning next season to make a serious run at Aaron's mark. His agent, Jeff Borris, said last week that Bonds "is going to play in 2007." Bonds can become a free agent again at the end of the postseason, and his future is very much still in question. Bonds said on Monday that he's already a little bit bored and getting ready to pick up his workout regimen. "I'm ready to run hills and stuff, but I'm so crazy," he said. "I just like to stay in shape no matter what." Bonds also took note of comments made in San Francisco this week by Peter Magowan, the Giants managing general partner, about the left fielder's future with the team he's played with for 14 seasons. "I saw where Peter Magowan said some nasty things," Bonds said. "He wants me to take a pay cut. Well, that's OK. I don't have to play baseball anymore, brother. I'll be glad to stay home. I'm free. I feel very free." Magowan was widely quoted as saying that Bonds will no longer be the focal point of the team if he re-signs with the Giants, who on Monday declined to renew manager Felipe Alou's contract and have to make decisions on 11 of their players, including Bonds, who can all become free agents. "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."
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.