Notes: Bonds is pulling for A-Rod
Giants slugger hoping for Yankee to break homer mark
LOS ANGELES -- As Alex Rodriguez's home run total increases, so will the volume of Barry Bonds' cheering.The Giants left fielder is rooting hard for Rodriguez's success, so much so that he hopes the New York Yankees third baseman breaks his single-season home run record. Bonds set the standard with 73 in 2001; Rodriguez already has 14 in 19 games. "I'm so happy for him. He's phenomenal to watch. I hope you guys enjoy it, too," Bonds told a thicket of reporters Monday as he staged his usual pre-series news conference. "I hope he hits 100, I really do." Bonds reaffirmed his sentiments when a surprised reporter asked Bonds if he genuinely felt this way. "I would be ecstatic. It wouldn't bother me one bit" to see Rodriguez eclipse him, he said. "That's what the game's about -- excitement, bringing people to the stadium. Go on, A-Rod, do your thing. I don't care what anybody says. Keep that look in your eye, because it's solid." In the midst of his own hot hitting -- he homered in San Francisco's previous two games and was batting .429 in his last nine games entering Tuesday -- Bonds recognized the groove that Rodriguez has been in. "I can see it on TV. I see it in his face," said Bonds, who began Monday needing 16 home runs to break Hank Aaron's all-time mark of 755. "You can see that his eyes are different, the way he is is different." Hennessey emerges: Manager Bruce Bochy indicated that Brad Hennessey, who has finished the eighth inning in his last two outings, is currently a top choice to occupy that key set-up spot. "He's getting the job done. He's gotten some big outs for us," Bochy said of Hennessey, who has been unscored upon in his previous four appearances. "If it ain't broke, I'm not going to fix it. This guy's thrown well. He's earned getting back out there in that situation." Hennessey isn't quite entrenched in this role. Bochy has repeated that he'll use any reliever in any situation.
"And I think I've shown it," Bochy said. "They need to know that."
Bochy's particularly liable to use any of his three left-handed relievers -- Steve Kline, Jonathan Sanchez or Jack Taschner -- in the eighth. Bochy began the season by leaning toward using Vinnie Chulk in the eighth, although as April has evolved, different relievers have bridged the Giants' starter and closer Armando Benitez.But, for now, Hennessey's favored among equals. The right-hander isn't overpowering, but pitching coach Dave Righetti pointed out that he doesn't have to be. Said Righetti, "It's the same thing I liked about him last year, and it hasn't changed. Unless the guy really has outstanding strikeout stuff out there, I like pitching." Formerly a starter, Hennessey has adjusted his pitching style to suit relieving. "It's helping me become more aggressive," he said. "I don't have to work so hard out there sometimes, throwing a lot of pitches. I go after guys and pound the strike zone a lot more than I did when I was starting." Lineup look: Bochy gave Ryan Klesko his eighth start of the season at first base, moved Rich Aurilia to third and benched Pedro Feliz. Past performances didn't dictate this, since Klesko entered the game with marginally more success than Feliz against Los Angeles starter Derek Lowe. Klesko was hitting .267 (4-for-15) off Lowe, compared to .250 (5-for-20, two home runs) for Feliz. Referring to the Giants' stretch of 20 consecutive games without a day off that began Tuesday, Bochy said that everybody will rest occasionally -- and that Feliz will rejoin the lineup soon. "As we get deeper into this streak we've got, we'll move some guys around," Bochy said. For instance, Bochy wouldn't commit to playing Bonds each game in this series, preferring to gauge the cleanup hitter's physical condition day by day. Coming up: The Giants and Dodgers continue their series Wednesday night at 7:10 PT. Noah Lowry, 2-0 with a 2.39 ERA in four Dodger Stadium starts, will oppose fellow left-hander Randy Wolf, who defeated the Giants on April 8 while allowing one run and three hits in six innings.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.