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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 11, 2010

MLB: Bonds says he's 'proud' of friend Mark McGwire

AP Baseball Writer

SAN FRANCISCO Home run king Barry Bonds said he is "proud" of slugger Mark McGwire for returning to baseball as the St. Louis Cardinals' hitting coach and for admitting his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

"I have a really good friendship with Mark McGwire. I'm proud of him," Bonds said Sunday. "We've had a great relationship throughout our entire lives and throughout our career. I'm proud of what he did. I'm happy for him."

While Bonds didn't rule out also going into coaching one day, his six-minute session with the media was ended after the question about McGwire.

In January, McGwire ended more than a decade of denials and evasion and finally admitted he used steroids and human growth hormone during his career, including in 1998 when he hit 70 home runs and broke the single-season record.

Bonds, who topped that mark when he hit 73 homers in 2001, has long denied ever knowingly using steroids or performance-enhancers in his pursuit of the career home run record arguably the most prized record in all of American sports.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied in 2003 to a federal grand jury investigating BALCO, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, and obstructed justice.

The 45-year-old Bonds, back in the Bay Area for a reunion at AT&T Park of the Giants' 2000 NL West champion team, said he doesn't believe now is the right time to retire. Though he also insists he's not in shape to play right now if an interested club came calling.

"I don't have any plans at all," he said of trying to play again. "No, it's not necessary at the moment (to retire). The timing isn't that important."

Bonds arrived separately and more than an hour later from other members of the 2000 team and walked hand in hand with 11-year-old daughter, Aisha. Bonds had a heavy security presence around him of police officers and ballpark officials.

The seven-time NL MVP broke Hank Aaron's home run record on Aug. 7, 2007, and has 762 career clouts. Bonds has made only a handful of public appearances in San Francisco since the Giants decided not to bring him back following that special 2007 season.

"It goes by quick. The sports world eventually comes to an end," Bonds said. "Your body can only do so much. Just be grateful for the time you have. I'm very grateful."