NEW YORK (AP) – One day after the World Series ended, baseball’s business season began Saturday when San Francisco’s Barry Bonds, Oakland’s Frank Thomas and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Nomar Garciaparra headed 59 players who filed for free agency.

Oakland pitcher Barry Zito and Washington’s Alfonso Soriano are the biggest names available in this year’s free-agent class. Approximately 200 players are eligible to file by the Nov. 11 deadline.

Among pitchers, the Chicago Cubs’ Kerry Wood and Houston’s Andy Pettitte could attract some interest. The Astros’ Roger Clemens also is eligible.

, but the 44-year-old hasn’t indicated whether he wants to pitch in 2007 or whether he’d consider leaving his hometown team.

Outfielder Luis Gonzalez, not wanted back by Arizona after eight seasons with the Diamondbacks, plans to play next year.

Bonds completed a $90 million, five-year contract with the Giants. He has 734 homers, 21 shy of Hank Aaron’s record, but it isn’t clear whether the Giants want him back. After missing most of 2005 because of a bad knee, Bonds batted .270 with 26 homers and 77 RBIs in 367 at-bats this year.

“A lot of players are somewhat nervous or apprehensive about becoming free agents because of all the uncertainty,” Bonds’ agent, Jeff Borris, said Saturday. “Barry has nerves of steel. That’s also evident in the way he plays baseball.”

Five players filed Saturday from the New York Mets: outfielders Cliff Floyd and Ricky Ledee, pitchers Orlando Hernandez and Steve Trachsel and shortstop Chris Woodward.

Five players also filed from Philadelphia – catcher Mike Lieberthal and pitchers Arthur Rhodes, Rick White, Randy Wolf and Aaron Fultz – along with five from San Diego.

Three players filed from the New York Yankees: infielder Miguel Cairo, reliever Octavio Dotel and outfielder Craig Wilson.



AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to this report.

AP-ES-10-28-06 2046EDT


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