Foppert progressing in recovery from elbow surgery
By Rich Draper / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- The pressure is off Barry Bonds to keep whacking that ball into space, says Giants manager Felipe Alou.
After Monday's shot to right field that tied Willie Mays' career 660 homers, Bonds appears more relaxed and never said no to playing in Tuesday night's game at SBC Park.
Barry Bonds / LF
Weight: 230 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L
"He still has quite a few more homers to hit, and he has 40 more to reach 700, the next milestone," said Alou, who feels 661 -- being in third all-time by himself -- is Bonds' real high mark. "That's my opinion, not his. I knew long ago he could hit a lot of homers, especially after he began hitting 40 a year regularly and staying healthy. I thought he could hit at least 600, yeah."
One great part of Bonds' game was phased out, Alou notes: stealing bases. Bonds hit the 30-plus mark nine times, including 52 with Pittsburgh in 1990 and 28 with the Giants in 1998.
"He stopped running the bases, just like [Henry] Aaron did, Willie [Mays] did, and Frank Robinson. It made them fresher, able to hit the ball out of the park. Just like Vladimir Guerrero [whom Alou managed in Montreal], I didn't want him to run because it would take away from his homers. But lately he's been running well."
Foppert progresses: When doctors performed Tommy John surgery on pitcher Jesse Foppert last September, they told him he could play golf two months after the operation. Excellent news -- especially since Foppert didn't play golf. But with encouragement from teammates, the rookie took up the game and occasionally shoots in the 90s on some of Northern California's tough courses.
"I've been at it a few months and love it," said the 23-year-old right-hander, who admits it's a great way to get his competitive juices flowing since he can't pitch, except in bullpen sessions.
Jesse Foppert / P
Weight: 210 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
"I've thrown about 20 times off the mound and throw every four or five days," said Foppert, who was 8-9 with a 5.03 ERA as a rookie last season. "I'm still throwing less than 80 miles per hour, which studies have shown doesn't put stress on the ligaments. It's been seven months now and in eight I can start mixing up curves and changeups. So far I haven't had a setback yet and we'll eventually push it."
Foppert expects to pitch in minor league rehab games sometime in August, but he's not sure. "We'll see how the summer goes."
Meanwhile, he keeps his golf game sharp. Hey, maybe the former University of San Francisco star will learn to play the piano next. The docs never said he couldn't.
Jeffrey Hammonds / CF
Weight: 205 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
Hammonds' hand: By sheer coincidence -- maybe -- Giants outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds got his first start of the season Tuesday vs. the Brewers and against left-hander Chris Capuano, who on March 9 during a Spring Training game fractured Hammonds' right thumb on a pitch over the player's head and put him on the 15-day disabled list.
"I noticed that," laughed Alou. "I expect that guy to stay away from him tonight. [Getting hit] was just one of those things that happen in Spring Training. I believe Jeff had a few words with Capuano on the way to the clubhouse. Now, there's nothing to be said."
Hammonds said earlier this week the incident is forgotten, "just like an old girlfriend."
Games on FSN: In the San Francisco Bay Area, Fox Sports Net will televise certain Giants games on FSN Plus this season. Coming up: Thursday, April 29, 1 p.m. PT vs. Florida; Wednesday, March 5, 4 p.m. PT at Mets.
Fan injured in fall: A spectator at Tuesday's game, identified as Andy Martin, 20, of Belmont, Calif., fell from the back of the right-field arcade section onto the portwalk below during the contest.
Martin was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with wrist injuries and a cut to the head but was conscious and had good vital signs, said Giants vice president of communications Staci Slaughter. The incident is under investigation.
In 2003, on the night the Giants clinched the National League West title, another fan died when he fell while trying to shimmy down a lightpost attached to the back of the arcade to retrieve a pair of sunglasses.
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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