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Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Barry Bonnell, who demanded last...

By RANDY STARKMAN, UPI Sports Writer

TORONTO -- Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Barry Bonnell, who demanded last November that the team trade him, has found a home -- and he didn't have to look very far.

Bonnell, a .293 hitter with six home runs and 29 RBI under manager Bobby Cox's platoon system in 1982, agreed Wednesday to a new three-year contract with the American League club.

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He said his demand for a trade had been triggered by a misunderstanding over the insurance policy in his contract and a desire to strengthen his bargaining position.

'I thought about playing for another team and what it would entail. I might get to play a little more in another city,' said Bonnell, who as a five-year veteran was entitled to demand a trade. 'But I like Toronto and would probably have never asked to leave if it wasn't for that contract stuff.'

Just 10 minutes before his contract was to expire, the Blue Jays told Bonnell, a licensed pilot, that it wouldn't be guaranteed if he were to 'go down' in a plane accident.

'But the Blue Jays came to me and apologized and said it was an oversight on their part. They agreed to pay for the extra insurance,' said Bonnell, 29, from his home in Milford, Ohio.

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Batting against primarily left-handed pitchers, the former Ohio State star maintained a .300-plus average until the final week of the season.

With the Jays' acquisition of outfielder-first baseman-DH Dave Collins from the New York Yankees during the winter meetings, Bonnell isn't sure what plans the Blue Jays have for him in the 1983 campaign.

He said his status might depend on the performance of centerfielder Lloyd Moseby.

'I might wind up in center field or I might wind up on the bench. I won't know until the start of the season. I've been around long enough to realize that things can change pretty quickly.'

The terms of the new pact, to run through the 1985 season, were not disclosed.

A 6-foot-3, 200-pounder, Bonnell was acquired by the Blue Jays, along with reliever Joey McLaughlin and infielder Pat Rockett, from the Braves in December, 1979, in exchange for first baseman Chris Chambliss and shortstop Luis Gomez.

In 680 major-league games, he has hit .268 with 37 home runs and 239 RBI.

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