SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Barry Bonds is all set to return to the San Francisco Giants. As a spring training instructor, that is.
The all-time home run leader who never officially retired is expected to arrive during the second week of March. Manager Bruce Bochy said Saturday that he’s looking forward to having the 49-year-old Bonds in camp and thinks he can help the hitters.
Bonds spent his last 15 seasons with the Giants, finishing in 2007. He has not been elected to the Hall of Fame, with many voters saying his lofty numbers were boosted by performance-enhancing drugs.
Bonds set major league records with 762 career home runs and 73 in 2001. He also had a .444 career on-base percentage and a .607 slugging percentage and stole 514 bases.
He’ll join former Giants Jeff Kent, Robb Nen, Will Clark and J.T. Snow as special instructors.
Kent and Bonds were involved in a highly publicized feud during the 2002 season, which reached its peak in June, when the two engaged in a shoving match in the dugout that was caught on camera.
Bonds’ final contract with the Giants included a 10-year services deal following his retirement, which included spring training visits.
The seven-time MVP has made limited public appearances since his final season, and has been embroiled in legal trouble.
Bonds remains a fan favorite in San Francisco, enjoying a warm reception any time he’s introduced at AT&T Park, the Giants’ home park.
Matt Cain, the Giants’ longest active tenured player, was Bonds’ teammate between 2005-07. Tim Lincecum made his major league debut in 2007.
Bonds also holds the big league records for walks in a season (232 in 2004, including a record 120 intentional walks) and in a career (2,558).
Bonds was a .298 hitter during a 22-year career. He had a .609 on-base percentage and .812 slugging percentage in 2004.
Overall, Bonds homered against 449 different pitchers. He shares the major league record with his father, Bobby Bonds, for most seasons (5) with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases.
He hit eight home runs in the 2002 postseason and holds the record for highest slugging percentage (1.294 in 2002) in a World Series.