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Let them investigate, Bonds says

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San Francisco's Barry Bonds, left, listens to media questions while sitting in the dugout following his Tuesday workouts in Arizona.

San Francisco’s Barry Bonds, left, listens to media questions while sitting in the dugout following his Tuesday workouts in Arizona.

Eric Risberg, Associated Press

Barry Bonds insisted he's unfazed by all of his off-the-field issues and is ready to resume his pursuit of the home run record.

"Let them investigate. Let them, they've been doing it this long," Bonds said Tuesday after his first spring training workout with the San Francisco Giants. "It doesn't weigh on me at all — at all. It's just you guys talking. It's just media conversation."

The slugger arrived at the Giants' training site in Scottsdale, Ariz., more fit than in recent years following a productive winter of conditioning.

Noticeably absent were his two personal trainers, Greg Oliver and Harvey Shields, who no longer can be with the slugger at the ballpark. Bonds, who spent the weekend in Las Vegas for the NBA All-Star game, was flanked by his two publicists and a Major League Baseball security guard assigned to him.

He joked with new teammate Barry Zito in their corner space of the clubhouse, then the 42-year-old Bonds made his way through the room and greeted outfielder Jason Ellison, infielder Rich Aurilia and pitcher Matt Morris.

He shagged fly balls and hit five home runs in batting practice, including a shot to the berm in right-center on a fastball from No. 2 starter Matt Cain.

"He's an incredible talent," new Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He showed it today on the first day."

Bonds still could be indicted if a federal grand jury determines that he perjured himself when testifying in 2003 in the BALCO steroid distribution case that he hadn't knowingly taken performance-enhancing drugs. Bonds, who has long denied ever using steroids, said his level of concern about the investigation is "none."

Last month, the New York Daily News reported that Bonds failed an amphetamines test last season and then attributed it to a substance he took from teammate Mark Sweeney's locker. Bonds publicly apologized to Sweeney at the time, then stretched alongside him and Ray Durham on the first day of workouts.

"I did not blame Mark Sweeney," Bonds said Tuesday, noting he apologized only "because you guys just started talking about it and I just thought it was unfair for him to be accused of something that wasn't true."

Asked if he had failed an amphetamines test, Bonds declined to comment. He also denied reports that he wasn't always available to pinch-hit last season.

"That's not true at all," said Bonds, who has language about behavior in his new contract. "I'm always available. I'm in uniform, so I'm always available."

WILLIAMS PASSES: At Yankees camp in Tampa, Fla., Bernie Williams rejected New York's offer of a minor league contract and will wait to see if a guaranteed job opens up for him on the team.

Yankees manager Joe Torre spoke with Williams last week and tried to reach him, without success, on Sunday.

"Bernie told me he had talked with Joe. Other than the invite, there wasn't any information that led him to believe he would be a member of the team," Williams' agent, Scott Boras, said Tuesday. "He's continuing to work out, will wait to see if their position changes."

ZAMBRANO DEAL: In Mesa, Ariz., Carlos Zambrano and the Chicago Cubs agreed to a $12.4 million, one-year contract Tuesday, avoiding salary arbitration by striking the deal just before the scheduled hearing.

Zambrano earned $6.5 million last season while going 16-7 with a 3.41 ERA and 210 strikeouts. He asked for $15.5 million in arbitration, while the Cubs countered at $11,025,000 — more than any player has been awarded.

"I feel good, ready to go," Zambrano said. "I'm ready to lead this team to the championship, to win in this city."

SUZUKI STATUS: In Peoria, Ariz., Ichiro Suzuki discussed the possibility that he might become a free agent for the first time. Seattle's sleek, six-time All-Star and perennial Gold Glove outfielder said "It is possible I will go to free agency" after the 2007 season.

Suzuki's $44 million, four-year deal ends this fall. This is the first time in his 15 years of professional baseball with Seattle and with Orix in Japan that he's playing the final season of a contract.

"I have never had the choice to choose for myself which road I want to take," Suzuki said through interpreter Ken Barron. "So if you ask me is it possible that I will go to free agency, yes, it is possible.

In other news from the Seattle camp, reliever Mark Lowe will have another MRI next week to determine when he can start throwing following elbow surgery in October, and former San Diego third baseman Sean Burroughs' comeback attempt as a non-roster invitee has been delayed because of a fishing accident.

LIGHTER JONES: At Kissimmee, Fla., Andruw Jones showed up to Braves camp about 10 pounds lighter and made it clear he'll be looking to get paid "market value" in his new deal.

Jones, entering the final year of his contract, put up 92 homers and 257 RBIs over the past two seasons while extending his Gold Glove streak to nine. But he might be too expensive for the Braves to keep. The team is going through an ownership change and has reduced payroll in recent years.

"I'm under contract to the Braves right now," Jones said. "Hopefully, by the end of the season, we'll be able to accomplish something so I can stay here. I want to be a Brave for life."

While there was a perception that Jones gave the Braves a hometown discount in his last contract, bringing in his father to help with the negotiations instead of agent Scott Boras, it looks as though the center fielder will be looking to get full value this time.