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Bonds excited to help Giants

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Barry Bonds certainly thinks he's worthy of election to the Hall of Fame.

"Without a doubt," baseball's home run king said Monday at the Giants' spring camp, where he will serve as a hitting instructor for a week.

For the time being, however, the seven-time NL MVP wants to put his controversial past behind him.

Bonds, 49, met with about three dozen media for about 30 minutes on a patio overlooking the leftfield area at Scottsdale Stadium. Looking about 30 pounds lighter than his playing weight of 230 and considerably more affable, Bonds wore an orange-and-black Giants cap, a black windbreaker and baseball pants, ready for the first day of work in a seven-day stay in camp.

"It feels really good to be back," Bonds said. "It feels good to give back to the game that I love. Hopefully, I'll be a part of this longer. … I'm enjoying it.

"I am more nervous at this than I was playing, because it was only my mind and me. Hopefully I can bring good value to the ballclub. We'll see how it works out. I don't even know if I'm good at it."

Bonds appeared relaxed, laughing and joking more in a few minutes than he did during the years when he ruled the team's clubhouse from his corner reclining chair.

"I'm just a different character. I was a different character playing," he said. "Now I've had time to slow down, do other things. I needed that guy to play, it's who I was at the time. I'm the same person, just a different character. … Teammates used to say, you don't play when you're nice. It worked. Whatever it was, it worked."

After meeting with the media, Bonds watched catcher Buster Posey and others intently in the batting cage.

"The timing was right. That's why it's happening now," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's good for Barry to see how it's going to work for him. To me, he is one of the greatest minds in baseball."

Bonds spent his last 15 big-league seasons with San Francisco, finishing in 2007 with 762 homers.

ANOTHER BRAVE HURT: Right-hander Brandon Beachy became the second straight Atlanta starting pitcher to leave early because of an arm problem, exiting after two innings with tightness around his pitching elbow. "I'm not worried about it at all," Beachy said. "I've seen the doctors and they've done everything. My ligament is fine." Sunday, projected opening day starter Kris Medlen left with a strained right forearm.

MCGRADY'S PROGRESS: Retired NBA star Tracy McGrady is moving closer to his dream of playing professional baseball. The Sugar Land Skeeters invited McGrady, 34, to spring training, giving him a chance to earn a spot on the independent Atlantic League team.

BROADCASTING: Former pitcher John Smoltz will work as an analyst for Fox's Major League Baseball telecasts. Smoltz will be paired with broadcaster Matt Vasgersian on Fox and Fox Sports 1.

METS: First baseman Ike Davis wore a walking boot on his right leg. Davis has not played since March 2 due to calf strains in both legs.

PIRATES: Top pitching prospect Jameson Taillon was among six players sent back to minor-league camp. The right-hander, drafted second overall in 2010, will begin the season with Triple-A Indianapolis.

Bonds excited to help Giants 03/10/14 [Last modified: Monday, March 10, 2014 9:26pm]
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