Bonds has surgery again, opener unlikely

Friday, March 18, 2005

Associated Press

Barry Bonds might not be ready to resume his pursuit of Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron when the season begins.

After pushing his surgically repaired knee during rehab workouts, Bonds underwent a second operation -- a setback that makes it unlikely the slugger will be ready for opening day.

Trainer Stan Conte said he could not rule out the possibility of Bonds being ready for the San Francisco Giants' opener on April 5 against the Dodgers, but said it is ''not an unreasonable thing'' to assume he'll be sidelined past that date.

''It would be pretty incredible, but I've learned with Barry I never say he can't do something,'' Conte said from spring training at Scottsdale Stadium in Arizona.

The Giants said in a statement that Bonds had arthroscopic surgery to repair tears in the knee, similar to his earlier operation on Jan. 31. Both procedures were performed in the Bay Area by Art Ting. No timetable was offered for his return.

''This is certainly a setback, and a significant one,'' general manager Brian Sabean said. ''Obviously, we didn't know we were going to go down this path. Barry did what he felt he could tolerate on any given day. I'm glad this happened now instead of three days before the season.''

Bonds, 40, is expected to return to Arizona next week. He hasn't worked out on the field since taking batting practice Sunday, and hasn't played in any Cactus League games.

He begins the season with 703 homers, third on the career list behind Ruth (714) and Aaron (755).

Bonds has ''experienced periods of swelling in his knee following an incident when he accidentally hit his knee on a table at SBC Park Feb. 4. Neither rest nor his current rehabilitation program has helped alleviate the periodic swelling,'' the Giants said in the release.

''It was a big blow to begin with and now it's a bigger blow,'' manager Felipe Alou said before the Giants beat the Rangers in an exhibition game. ''Now it's real, he's going to be out.''

Conte said the swelling initially was considered a normal part of Bonds' recovery, but when it wouldn't go away he knew something was wrong.

Bonds returned to San Francisco on Wednesday from spring training to be evaluated by Ting, and the process took all day, Conte said. An MRI showed ''new tears that had to be addressed.''

''One reason we were so tightlipped is because the process took all day yesterday and into the night to get the results,'' Conte said. ''We had to talk about options and we made the decision last night. Bonds made the final decision.

''This was a necessary procedure to get him back. The new tears had to happen after the original surgery. His knee would swell, we would take a couple of days and he'd be fine. It's not unusual in rehabbing. We felt it was a normal process.''

At Jupiter, Fla., the St. Louis Cardinals learned they will be without outfielder Reggie Sanders for a while. The 37-year-old Sanders was diagnosed with appendicitis and scheduled to have an appendectomy later Thursday night.

Royals 5, Angels 3

At Tempe, Ariz., Mike Sweeney had three hits, Emil Brown drove in two runs to lead Kansas City past Los Angeles.

Brown and Eli Marrero had two hits apiece, and Angel Berroa homered for Kansas City, which finished with 14 hits. Steve Finley had two hits and two RBIs for the Angels.

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