SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Barry Bonds thinks he is worthy of election to the Hall of Fame.
“Without a doubt,” baseball’s home-run king said Monday at the San Francisco Giants’ spring-training camp, where he will serve as a hitting instructor for a week.
The 49-year-old Bonds spent his last 15 big-league seasons with San Francisco, finishing in 2007 with 762 homers.
But his final years were clouded by suspicion of performance-enhancing-drug use, and the seven-time National League most valuable player was convicted of one obstruction count in April 2011 by a jury that found an answer he gave was criminally evasive during 2003 testimony before a grand jury investigating the distribution of PEDs.
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Bonds didn’t come close to election to the Hall in his first two turns on the ballot.
Asked his advice for the writers who have not voted for him: “You guys are all adults. I have no advice for you.”
One topic he wouldn’t discuss: Alex Rodriguez, the New York Yankees’ third baseman who is serving a seasonlong drug suspension.
Bonds said he respects Rodriguez and will talk to the ex-Mariner individually, “not in a press conference.”
Meeting with about three dozen media members for about 30 minutes on a patio overlooking the left-field area at Scottsdale Stadium, Bonds wanted to put the controversial past behind him.
“It feels really good to be back,” he 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.”
Looking about 30 pounds lighter than his listed 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.
He 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,” Bonds 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.”
Would he perhaps like to manage some day?
“I want to try and get through these seven days first,” Bonds said with a laugh. “This is all new to me on this side of the fence. I was accustomed to the other side of the fence. I’m going to take baby steps at it. I’m going to work as hard at it as I did as a player. But I think it’s too hard to be a manager. I think what Bochy does is too hard for me.”
• On the field, Matt Cain pitched five perfect innings for San Francisco in a 3-2 exhibition loss to the Chicago Cubs.
Cain, expected to be the Giants’ No. 2 starter behind Madison Bumgarner, threw 59 pitches and struck out seven.
• Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish went five innings in an 8-2 victory over Cincinnati in Surprise, Ariz. Darvish allowed two runs and five hits, striking out one without a walk.
• Retired pitcher John Smoltz, who was an eight-time All-Star, will work as an analyst for Fox’s MLB telecasts.
Smoltz will be paired with broadcaster Matt Vasgersian on Fox and Fox Sports 1, network officials said. Smoltz, 46, will continue to work for MLB Network.