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Marlins take a chance, hire Barry Bonds as hitting coach

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If the hitters of the Miami Marlins want to infuse a little more controversy into their at-bats, their new mentor may be just the right guy.

The Marlins announced the hiring of Barry Bonds Friday.

Bonds, one of the most debated batters of his time, will work on the staff of coach Don Mattingly. Bonds, a seven-time league MVP, inherits a team that was last in the majors in walks and next-to-last in home runs and runs scored. But rumors of steroid abuse trailed him throughout his career.

Those suspicions have helped to keep Bonds out of the Hall of Fame. He received 37 percent of the vote last year, roughly half of the 75 percent he needs.

“I’m a Hall of Fame player in my mind, in my heart,” Bonds said on a conference call. “God knows that. That’s all that matters to me. I’ll leave the voting process up to you guys.”

Another player who was tainted by steroids, Mark McGwire, was hired as bench coach of the San Diego Padres.

Bonds is the career leader in home runs with 762.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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