Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Ted Simmons, responding to persistent rumors that a deal with the Atlanta Braves was imminent, said yesterday the Pirates won't trade Barry Bonds this season.
Simmons also said he won't deal former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, who, like Bonds, can become a free agent after this season.
Simmons made the remarks just minutes after releasing bullpen closer Bill Landrum in the second cost-cutting move by the Pirates this week. John Smiley, a 20-game winner last year and a prospective free agent next winter, was dealt Tuesday to the Minnesota Twins for two prospects.
The Smiley deal started rumors that Bonds -- who will make $4.7 million this season -- would be the next to go as the Pirates reduce salaries and replenish their trade-depleted farm system.
Bonds didn't sound convinced by Simmons' comments.
"I saw where Ted Simmons said he wouldn't trade me, Doug Drabek or John Smiley, and you see where John Smiley is," Bonds said. "I wouldn't say there's no chance I won't get traded. I'm ready for anything."
* DODGERS: As trade rumors bearing his name persist, second baseman Juan Samuel says he expects to be with Los Angeles on Opening Day, but "would not be upset" if he wasn't.
"I'm not going to worry about that," said Samuel, who, according to scouts, remains a player of interest to the Orioles, Angels and Athletics. "There's going to be rumors all the time. And it's not ZTC like I haven't been traded before."
Because he returned to the Dodgers this season by accepting their arbitration offer, Samuel cannot be traded before June 15 without the Dodgers first getting his permission.
* GIANTS: Pitcher Trevor Wilson underwent surgery to remove a benign cyst on a rib and should be back on the mound within a few weeks. The 1 1/2 -hour operation at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Memorial Hospital was successful, and there were no complications, said team spokeswoman Maria Jacinto.
* PHILLIES: Jose DeJesus pitched two innings against a Yankees farm team, reporting no pain in the ailing shoulder that had kept him sidelined this spring.
* ROCKIES: The expansion club announced that its ticket prices would range from a low of $1 next season to a high of $16. Rockies chairman John Antonucci said the club would offer a minimum of 150,000 free tickets each season to underprivileged children and their families. The average ticket price for a sellout in Mile High Stadium will be $8.08.