SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds normally treats the Giants press corps like four out of five dentists lined up to perform unmedicated root canals. And the fifth is a guy who really got him mad.
That's why it was somewhat surprising to have the San Francisco star beckon the media Friday for a pregame chat to clarify his stance on participating in Monday's Century 21 Home Run Derby in Houston the day before the All-Star Game.
Barry Bonds / LF
Weight: 230 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L
What set Bonds off was a report in a Bay Area paper saying he agreed to participate in the Derby only because Major League Baseball agreed to compensate him for the day of rest he would lose by taking part in the contest.
"What [the reporter] did was wrong," Bonds said. "There was no statement like that. It was flat-out wrong."
Bonds, who is earning $18 million from the Giants for his services this season under a contract that calls for him to collect a $100,000 bonus for making the All-Star Game, even put a message on his Web site denouncing the story in Friday's newspaper.
Talking to the media, Bonds said the notion of compensation for the Derby never entered into his conversations with MLB about this week's activities. Bonds said he merely wanted to confirm that the three other active members of the 500 home run club, Ken Griffey Jr., Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro, would also be in the Derby.
Bonds said competing with and against the other members of that elite fraternity is important to him "because it's historical. What's the chance of that ever happening again?"
He said the only delay in announcing his participation was confirming the other three sluggers would be in Houston.
"You know, we've had home run hitting contests before and at the last minute people bailed out," Bonds said. "I just wanted to make sure it was going to work out this way. I wanted to hear from the horse's mouth that, yeah, this is going to go through and that everyone's going to participate."
Dustan Mohr / RF
Weight: 210 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
Playing through pain: On Wednesday, Dustan Mohr was taking batting practice when his bicipital tendon ripped clear from its mooring in his right shoulder. On Friday, Mohr was back in the starting lineup.
"It's damaged as much as it's going to be damaged," said Mohr. "It can't tear any more."
Mohr, who bats and throws right, said he feels as if someone has punched him in the arm, but he can play through the small discomfort he feels.
Oddly enough, Mohr said he has less discomfort in his shoulder now that the tendon has ripped free. He originally hurt himself crashing into the outfield wall in Oakland two weeks ago, but not badly enough to miss time on the field.
Mohr had an MRI taken after that incident, but at the time and again reviewing the original test results following another MRI on Thursday, the Giants medical staff saw no tendon damage.
Still, the Giants and Mohr believe the collision with the wall and the popped tendon are related.
Giants trainer Stan Conte said Mohr's injury is so unusual in baseball that the only athlete he could find with an identical problem was former Denver quarterback John Elway, who is entering the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer.
"Sometimes the way Dustin plays it looks like he's playing football, the way he ran into that wall in Oakland," manager Felipe Alou said
"I'm in pretty good company," Mohr said. "When Elway got it [in training camp] he took five days off, then went on to win the first of two Super Bowls."
Randy Johnson / P
Weight: 230 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: L
Big Unit fan club: Alou had an earlier look at the Diamondbacks' future Hall of Famer than most in the game. Back in 1986, Randy Johnson was a 22-year-old in his second season in professional ball. He was just beginning his climb through the Montreal Expos farm system, and Alou was his manager at Class A West Palm Beach.
Even then, when Johnson was struggling to find his control, Alou knew he was witnessing something special.
"How many Randy Johnsons do you see?" Alou said. "He was also a pitcher on the mound. He knew what he was doing."
Alou spent a good 10 minutes telling Randy Johnson stories before Friday's game. There was the one about Johnson driving around town in a small convertible, and at 6-foot-10 being so tall that he was looking over the windshield to see the road.
And another one about Johnson single-handedly challenging the entire Dodgers Class A club to a fight after they laughed at him for trying to make a play on a foul ball that landed on the dugout roof. There were no takers.
Calling Johnson "the Barry Bonds of the mound," Alou seemed most impressed by Johnson's bulldog attitude.
Alou related a story of getting a call from the local police late one night because Johnson had been picked up for driving with an invalid license.
Johnson was scheduled to pitch the next day, but by the time Alou got his young player free and back to the team hotel, it was close to 4 a.m.
The manager told his player to forget making the start, but Johnson was adamant about playing.
"He didn't pitch well," Alou said. "He threw a bunch of balls over the screen. But he was tenacious."
Tony Kuttner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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