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Barry Bonds rejoins Giants as special adviser, calls team ‘family’

In this July 23, 2016 file photo, Miami Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds watches batting practice before a baseball game against the New York Mets in Miami. (Lynne Sladky / Associated Press)
In this July 23, 2016 file photo, Miami Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds watches batting practice before a baseball game against the New York Mets in Miami. (Lynne Sladky / Associated Press)
By Janie Mccauley Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO – Barry Bonds is back with the San Francisco Giants, just as the club had hoped.

Bonds, who spent a one-season stint as Miami’s hitting coach last year before being fired, will serve as a special adviser to CEO Larry Baer.

The home run king was scheduled to help coach at spring training beginning Wednesday in Scottsdale, Arizona. He will work with the minor league teams, something that had been in the works for a couple of months. General manager Bobby Evans mentioned it last month at FanFest .

“We are delighted to welcome Barry back home to the Giants,” Baer said. “As one of the greatest players of all-time, Barry’s contributions to our organization are legendary. He joins Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Orlando Cepeda and other distinguished alumni who help advise the club and we look forward to working with him again. ”

Now an avid cyclist at age 52, Bonds also will represent the organization in the community and at various Giants events.

“I am excited to be back home with the Giants and join the team in an official capacity,” Bonds said. “San Francisco has always been my home and the Giants will always be my family. I look forward to spending time with the team, young players in the system as well as the Bay Area community.”

Giants manager Bruce Bochy was glad to have Bonds.

“He’s been here before, so it’s not something new to us. He’ll be helping out just like all the other guest instructors that we have here. Right now, we have Will Clark, Rich Aurilia. We could put together a pretty good team here if we wanted, with an old Giant club here of all the guys that we have,” Bochy said.

“More than anything, I think you’ll see him working with Bam-Bam (hitting coach Hensley Meulens) and the hitters. Barry, we welcome him and he’ll be part of this staff for a week,” he said.

Bonds received 53.8 percent of the vote in the 2017 Hall of Fame ballot by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, up from 44.3 percent the previous year. He got just 36.2 percent on his initial ballot appearance in 2013.

The seven-time NL MVP spent his final 15 seasons with the Giants and hit 762 career home runs.

In July 2015, federal prosecutors dropped what was left of their criminal case against him after a nearly decade-long steroids prosecution, something the slugger told The AP lifted a huge weight from his shoulders.

Bonds, the seven-time NL MVP, broke Hank Aaron’s career home record of 755 on Aug. 7, 2007, in the last of his 22 big league seasons.

All along, he’s said he knows in his heart he’s a Hall of Famer – regardless of the results each year or whether he is ever enshrined at Cooperstown.

AP freelance writer Jose M. Romero contributed to this report.

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