Bonds career effectively over, agent tells paper

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Home run record holder Barry Bonds will not be returning to Major League Baseball, his agent said on Thursday, effectively confirming the player's retirement.

Bonds, who faces charges that he lied to a grand jury about steroid use, has not played in the past two seasons but had never formally retired.

His agent Jeff Borris told The San Francisco Chronicle though that he saw no chance of a return for the 45-year-old slugger, who technically is still a free agent.

"It's two years since he played his last game, and if there was any chance he'd be back in a major-league uniform, it would have happened by now," Borris said.

"When 2008 came around, I couldn't get him a job. When 2009 came around, I couldn't get him a job. Now, 2010 ... I'd say it's nearly impossible. It's an unfortunate ending to a storied career," he said.

Bonds has a record 762 career home runs, seven National League MVP awards and in his final season for the San Francisco Giants had a .276 batting average with 28 home runs in 126 games.

Borris said that he was sure that despite his age Bonds would still be capable of performing at a high level but that no team wanted to be associated with him.

"I'm sure if they gave him two weeks in a (batting) cage, he'd be hitting amongst the best in the game right now but Major League Baseball will never give him that chance.

"If they would have let Barry play baseball until his on-base percentage dropped below .400, he probably would've been playing until he was 56," Borris said.

(Reporting by Simon Evans in Miami; editing by Kevin Fylan)