SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Barry Bonds plans to play sparingly in the season’s final week and wasn’t in the lineup against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night, one day after the Giants were eliminated from playoff contention.

“I’m done. My elbow hurts,” Bonds said, sitting at his corner locker in the clubhouse. “I will play in the L.A. series.”

The slugger, in the final days of his $90 million, five-year contract with San Francisco, said he would likely also take Wednesday’s day game against Arizona off, then play Friday night in the series opener with the rival Dodgers – and perhaps a few innings Saturday.

The 42-year-old Bonds has 734 home runs, 21 from tying Hank Aaron’s career record of 755, and has played significantly better since the All-Star break. He is hitting .382 (34-for-89) with 10 home runs, 26 RBIs and 18 walks in his last 28 games and has raised his batting average from .235 to .271 during that stretch.

His troublesome knees have held up well lately despite playing 128 games, but Bonds still has bone chips floating in his left elbow that cause him pain. The cooler Bay Area nights – like Tuesday – are more difficult for the seven-time NL MVP, too.

“My elbow is going to be fine for the rest of my life,” he said. “It’s the same.”

Bonds was limited to 14 games, all in September, last season following three operations on his right knee.

He has already packed the majority of his belongings to send back to his home in Beverly Hills. He joked about boxing up his bats, too. This could be his final homestand with the Giants if the team doesn’t bring him back.

Team owner Peter Magowan said the issue would be addressed after the season. Many think the club will try to keep Bonds for a 22nd major league season and 15th with the Giants because San Francisco hosts the All-Star game next season and wouldn’t want to watch Bonds break Aaron’s record in another uniform.

If the Giants have to go to St. Louis for a makeup game Monday that would determine an NL playoff spot, Bonds wasn’t sure whether he would have to make the trip.

“That’s something to ask them,” he said. “That’s a question for the manager.”

Felipe Alou was hoping it doesn’t come to that – and said he was unsure about Bonds’ status for the game.

“I’m going on the way home, definitely,” said the 71-year-old Alou, who lives in Florida and might retire after the season. “I will make people go. As an organization, and the league has to take a stand. It’s an important game for the National League and the integrity of the game. Ideally, we don’t have to go.”

AP-ES-09-26-06 2144EDT


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