Answers needed about Bonds

BOB ELLIOTT

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

Will he or he won't he?

The question covers plenty of ground for Barry Bonds.

Will the San Francisco Giants left fielder get the 22 home runs he needs to break Henry Aaron's career mark?

Will he be indicted by the U.S. Federal grand jury which has been investigating Bonds for more than 31/2 years?

Did he take steroids and fail an amphetamines test?

Can Major League Baseball or the grand jury prove that either? And if so, why has he not been indicted?

When Bonds arrived in Scottsdale, Ariz., for spring training, he basically dared the government to charge him.

Bonds and new Giants manager Bruce Bochy open their season Tuesday afternoon at home against the latter's old team, the San Diego Padres. Bonds will be hitting third, where he should have hit most of the time, rather than fourth or fifth.

At one point during the off-season, it looked as if Bonds might be at home on opening day, feet up, watching TV ... retired. No one was interested in giving him a job.

Eventually, the Giants gave him a one-year, $15.8 million US deal and now he is back in the only city where he is cheered.

The Bonds watch will be the main storyline of the 2006 season in the National League, but it won't be the only one:

- Ken Griffey, the future Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer, who has battled injuries and moves to right field from centre and to third in the batting order from cleanup. Griffey isn't happy with either move by manager Jerry Narron.

- Mets lefty Tom Glavine is seven wins away from 300, while Padres reliever Trevor Hoffman is 18 saves shy of the 500 level.

- Cubs manager Lou Piniella is disappointed already.

For the fourth straight year, Kerry Wood or Mark Prior will not open the season on the 25-man roster.

This year, it's both of them. Wood is on the disabled list while Prior has been demoted to triple-A Iowa to regain the strength in his shoulder.

- Washington, D.C.'s love affair with baseball is headed for a marriage counsellor. Heading into the weekend the Nationals had sold only 30,000 tickets for tomorrow's home opener.

The Nats sold the equivalent of 15,000 season tickets. That's a drop of 1,000 season tickets from 2006 and 7,000 from 2005. They have one member of the opening-day rotation who doesn't have a career losing record in the majors: Jason Bergman (2-2).

The others and their records: John Patterson (17-20), Shawn Hill (2-5) of Georgetown, Ont., Jerome Williams (23-24) and rookie Matt Chico.

- Could post-season baseball be coming to Milwaukee now that former owner/commissioner Bud Selig has departed and Mark Attanasio owns the team?

There's a good chance, for many argue GM Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash have assembled the best rotation in the division with Ben Sheets, Chris Capuano, Jeff Suppan, Dave Bush and Claudio Vargas.

- Houston Astros reliever Brad Lidge claims he is not hurt. Results indicate he has lost velocity and, during his first 10 spring outings, he allowed runs in six of them.

- Stephen Drew is the Arizona Diamondbacks' leadoff hitter, living up to the nickname "Phenom" given to him by Orlando Hudson in July.

Said Hudson: "He is still The Phenom until the end of the year, then we'll get another phenom and he'll just be Stephen Drew."

- Jeff Bagwell is gone from the Astros, but Craig Biggio motors on, 70 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.


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