Barry and the Giants

BOB ELLIOTT -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:19 PM ET

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The first day of full spring workouts usually consist of coaches throwing batting practice.

If you listen close you can hear hitters creak like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz dusting off winter rust.

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy had his hitters face live pitching yesterday. While Barry Lamar Bonds knew what pitch was coming, the man who would be home run king launched a Matt Cain fastball roughly 420 feet on to the berm behind the right-field fence during batting practice.

Bonds does not know what is coming this season as the U.S. grand jury investigation -- now 31/2 years long with the clock still running -- into whether he perjured himself in 2003 in the BALCO steroid distribution trial.

"Let them investigate," Bonds told reporters in his annual state-of-the-union address inside the dugout at Scottsdale Stadium. "Let 'em. They've been doing it this long.

"It doesn't weigh on me at all -- at all. It's just you guys talking, just media conversation."

Bonds refused to comment further on the federal investigation. He could be indicted if the grand jury finds he took performance-enhancing drugs.

Bonds says he's not concerned.

He didn't want to talk about a reported positive amphetamine test in 2006 and how he blamed the result on teammate Mark Sweeney.

"I did NOT blame Sweeney," Bonds said curtly.

Well, why issue a statement of apology to both Sweeney and his family?

"I apologized to him because all you guys started talking and writing about it," Bonds said. "I just thought it was unfair for him to be accused of something that wasn't true."

Bonds enters 2007 needing 22 home runs to break Hank Aaron's career record of 755 homers.

"I'm 21 away now," he joked after connecting off Cain. "That one counts right?"

Bonds, 42, finally signed his new one-year, $15.8 million contract -- which could be worth as much as $20 million -- on Thursday.

Two years ago, Bonds was defiant in his state-of-the-union address and attacked the media in an emotional scene. On this day, he was more subdued talking baseball and then going into no-comment mode during his 12-minute session.

"If the record happens, it happens, we'll see when we get there," Bonds said. "You know how I do it. I'll drag it out, let you guys wait. Anticipation, you know? Build up hype, let you guys wait."

Will commissioner Bud Selig show up when Bonds approaches Aaron record? Well, he should be there. It's pretty hypocritical if he isn't. Especially after the way Selig hugged and mugged for photos with Mark McGwire during his single-season home run record in 1998.

Bonds arrived with two publicists and a security guard assigned by Major League Baseball. His two personal trainers, Greg Oliver and Harvey Shields, are no longer allowed to have lockers or allowed to be in the Giants clubhouse. Bonds worked out with them before arriving at the park.

"I'm playing until I'm 100, so you guys get used to me," said Bonds, the seven-time National League most-valuable-player-winner and a 13-time all-star.

"I'm going to play like I always play, hopefully we can win the division, if the record gets in the way, so be it," Bonds said. "There's always a small window in sports. Sports are like that, a lot of luck and good fortune comes with deciding who wins."

Before leaving, Bonds came out of the clubhouse with free-agent signing, lefty Barry Zito. Each sported matching black T-shirts with this orange writing on the back:

"DON'T ASK ME ... ASK BARRY" with an arrow pointed at the other Barry.

No one over the age of 42 has ever hit more than 18 homers in a season.

So, are you looking forward to Bonds hitting, oh say 19 this year and then breaking Aaron's record in April 2008?

Wether you want Barry Bonds to break the home run record or not, it's going to happen some day.


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