Barry Bonds is back in baseball. He won’t necessarily be behind the plate swinging for the fences, but MLB’s all-time home runs leader (apply asterisk if applicable) makes his return as a special hitting instructor for his former team, the San Francisco Giants, for spring training.
When it comes to hitting, Bonds does seem like an ideal candidate to guide the Giants’ young hitters with 762 home runs on his resume as well as the single season home run record of 73. He has wanted to take on a more active role within the organization, but it’s only presumable that his connection to performance-enhancing drugs and an obstruction to justice conviction from the BALCO investigation has deterred the team from extending the type of commitment he’s looking for.
Nonetheless, serving as a Giants hitting instructor for spring trainer may put Bonds on a path to repairing his image. While he hasn’t confessed to “knowingly” taking PEDs like Mark McGwire confessed to his usage, McGwire was brought on as a hitting coach for his former team, the St. Louis Cardinals, and received a standing ovation prior to the Cardinals home opener in 2010. In McGwire’s three seasons as Cardinals hitting coach they featured a prolific offense that led the National League in hitting and on-base percentage. Bonds may has have the same effect with the Giants if he can prove to be useful.