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Big Barry bombs back

Posted: Thursday, February 26, 2004

Barry Bonds teed off on Turk Wendell for accusing him of using steroids.

A day after the Colorado reliever said it was ''clear just seeing his body'' that Bonds was taking steroids, the San Francisco Giants slugger said the remark should've been made directly to him not a reporter.

''If you've got something to say, say it to my face,'' Bonds said Wednesday in Scottsdale, Ariz. ''You got something to say, you come to my face and say it and we'll deal with each other. Don't talk through the media like you're some tough guy.''

On Tuesday in Tucson, Wendell criticized Bonds to The Denver Post.

Bonds, who has always denied using steroids, appeared in December before a grand jury probing a supplements lab accused of illegally distributing steroids to athletes. His trainer, Greg Anderson, was among four men charged this month. All the men have pleaded innocent and no athletes have been charged.

''If my personal trainer, me, Turk Wendell, got indicted for that, there's no one in the world who wouldn't think that I wasn't taking steroids,'' Wendell said. ''I mean, what, because he's Barry Bonds, no one's going to say that? I mean, obviously he did it. (His trainer) admitted to giving steroids to baseball players. He just doesn't want to say his name. You don't have to. It's clear just seeing his body.''

Another top slugger, Manny Ramirez, reported to Boston's spring training camp in Fort Myers, Fla., with his customary smile and public silence.

''He looked great. He's hugging everybody,'' Kevin Millar said. ''Manny was Manny, and in the (batting) cages he looked awesome. Everything was fine.''

Ramirez is expected to bat fourth again for Boston, nearly was traded to Texas for Alex Rodriguez, but the deal fell through in December. Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, who would have been sent to the Chicago White Sox, said after reporting Tuesday that he felt hurt by Boston's actions.

''These guys are professionals,'' Trot Nixon said. ''They know they have a job to do. They're not going to disrespect the organization, their teammates, especially themselves. These guys are going to continue to have MVP-type years, as they normally have.''

In Tucson, Ariz., Frank Thomas said he doesn't agree with the way the team handled his contract after the 2002 season, when the White Sox invoked a diminished-skills clause in his previous agreement.

''I think it was embarrassing. I told people I was the first player ever last year to have a guaranteed contract taken away,'' said Thomas, who wound up re-signing. ''I was bitter about it, but you know what? I got over it.''

In Phoenix, Oakland's Eric Chavez insisted his unsettled contract situation won't be a distraction this spring. The Gold Glove third baseman is signed through this season, and he wants a longterm deal to stay with the Athletics.

''I'd like to get something done,'' he said. ''I'm going to leave my emotions out of it. I'm going to keep my opinion out of the papers and wait and see what happens. ... It sounds like I'm in their plans, and to me that's flattering.''

Valdimir Guerrero, who did switch teams, reported for his first spring training with the Anaheim Angels, who signed him to a $70 million, five-year contract. Showing no sign of the back injury that limited him to 112 games with Montreal last season, Guerrero was swinging the bat smoothly and mostly making solid contact in Tempe, Ariz.

''It feels good. I've been working on my back, so everything's OK,'' the outfielder said through an interpreter. ''I need time to get to know everybody, but that will happen, and in a couple of months, I think we will make a great team.''

In Dunedin, Fla., Carlos Delgado reported for what could be his final spring with the Toronto Blue Jays. The first baseman will make $18.5 million this season, the last in a $68 million, four-year deal, and Toronto won't talk contract until after the season.

''We did the same thing with (Roy) Halladay, we waited till the end of the year,'' general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. ''I think we are going to do the same thing with Carlos. We have talked to him already and told him we want him to be a part of what we are doing.''

In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Rafael Palmeiro walked into Baltimore Orioles' camp, shook hands with a couple of security guards, looked around and smiled.

''Just like I never left,'' he said. ''I'm back home.''

Palmeiro hit 182 homers with the Orioles from 1994-98 before signing a five-year contract with Texas. He was eager to whip the ball around the horn with newcomer Miguel Tejada at shortstop, Melvin Mora at third base and Javy Lopez at catcher.

''It will take some time to come together, but it's exciting to have all the new guys out there,'' Palmeiro said. ''I'm sure I'll fit in nicely.''

In Port St. Lucie, Fla., the Mets picked Tom Glavine to start his second straight opener for them. The left-hander, going into his second season in New York, will face his old team in Atlanta on April 6.

''He's our guy and I think he's going to have a big year for us,'' Mets manager Art Howe said. ''I'm sending him a vote of confidence that he's our No. 1 guy and he's going to pitch great.''

Glavine, selected over Al Leiter, was 0-4 with a 10.35 ERA last year against the Braves, his team for 15 seasons before he signed with New York.

''Sometimes too much is made of who your opening-day starter is,'' Glavine said. ''Everybody's so quick to attach the ace label onto some guy.''



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