© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
04/01/07 8:22 PM ET
Notes: Bonds looks ready for season
Sweeney goes on DL; Niekro, Frandsen, Sanchez make roster
By Ryan Quinn / Special to MLB.com
OAKLAND -- Barry Bonds made two large statements Sunday against the A's. They both started with a boom. In the final game before Opening Day, Bonds blasted two home runs off starter Joe Kennedy during a 8-5 loss at McAfee Coliseum. Bonds' swing gave his teammates the impression that he is healthy and ready for the season in which he will chase the home run record. "He's unreal," said Giants starter Noah Lowry. "He just looks healthy. When he's healthy, results take care of themselves. Hopefully, he can stay healthy all year and we can see history in the making." Bonds' first homer came on a 2-0 pitch with Omar Vizquel on first and sailed over the right-field wall. For his second shot, he stroked an outside pitch over the FSN Bay Area sign in center field. Bonds pulled himself into a tie with Arizona's Scott Hairston for most homers during the spring with seven. Chicago Cubs third baseman Amaris Ramirez led with eight. "He came into Spring Training ready from the start," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "His legs were great and his swing great. He's your go-to guy and he's been swinging well." Roster decided: The Giants solved their final roster-spot decision by placing Mark Sweeney on the 15-day disabled list and trading Jason Ellison to the Seattle Mariners. First baseman Lance Niekro will be the seventh infielder for the Giants on Opening Day. Coming into Sunday, Niekro hit .362 during the spring with three homers and 10 RBIs. Niekro brings a powerful swing to the lineup, while the outfield was pretty crowded for Ellison with backups Todd Linden, Ryan Klesko, Kevin Frandsen and even Pedro Feliz. "A right-handed bat was something we were a little short on," Bochy said. "[Niekro] is a guy that can hit the ball out of the ballpark." Bochy said that Linden will see plenty of playing time this season and that Niekro could see more time by moving Feliz to left field and Rich Aurilia to third base. Sweeney, whose DL placement is retroactive from March 29, fouled a pitch off his foot against Brian Shouse of the Brewers on Wednesday and hasn't played since. "I knew it was bad [right away]," Sweeney said. "I'm getting better every day. Hitting is fine, [but] running is not the greatest thing in the world. I should be ready in a few days or so." On the mound: Lowry started Sunday and gave up two runs over three innings on four hits. The southpaw left after 54 pitches, 35 for strikes. "I feel like my timing is there," Lowry said. "My rhythm is there and I have a pretty good feel for all my pitches right now. "I'm excited to get going and excited for Opening Day. As a whole, our team is ready to go. We're going to be a good team." Starter Russ Ortiz threw in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Saturday and last 8 1/3 innings. He yielded two runs on five hits and struck out four on 102 pitches. Dreams do come true for some: Frandsen grew up watching Giants Opening Days from his home in San Jose, and on Tuesday, for the first time, he'll be part of it. "It will be a totally different experience being on that field and feeding off the excitement instead of creating it," Frandsen said. Frandsen, hopefully, will be creating the same excitement this season that he generated in March as he averaged .292 with a .431 slugging percentage. Frandsen may not see playing time on Opening Day, but he's just happy his name is solidified on the roster. "Opening Day in the Minors was a big deal for me, so I can't imagine what it's going to be like being up here," he said. Frandsen is most looking forward to the moment his name is announced before he charges out to the line. His parents will be there for that moment, but missing in the stands will be Frandsen's older brother D.J., who died in September 2004 after a 19-year battle with cancer. "I went basically wherever he went," Frandsen said. "If he went to a game, I went to a game. It would have been nice to have him there on Opening Day." Bullpen gets some relief: When the Giants made their final cuts for the pitching staff Saturday, there were a few hurlers that were happy that they didn't get called into the skipper's office. Jonathan Sanchez, who was with the Giants for two different stints during 2006, was among the smiling faces Sunday morning before the game against the A's. "I'm excited," said the 24-year-old Sanchez, who spent most of last season in Triple-A Fresno. "That's what I wanted this year. Hopefully, we can go on to win the division." The southpaw from Puerto Rico appeared in 27 games, four starts, for the Giants in 2006 and went 3-1 with a 4.95 ERA. Sanchez said that his mom, Xiomara Pacheco, is planning on making the trip to San Francisco in a couple of weeks to watch him pitch. Jack Taschner, who pitched in 24 games last year before being sent down to Triple-A Fresno, was another pitcher on the bubble and didn't want to get caught talking to the media before noon PT rolled around Sunday. "I just didn't want to jump the gun and make some comments and then all of sudden get called into the office to say that I'm optioned," said Taschner, who will be one of three left-handers in the bullpen. "I'm real excited. The last couple of days were exciting. I just wanted to stay; that's want everyone wants, to stay in the big leagues." One of the players on the other side of the fence was Scott Munter, who played in 27 games last season and had a locker next to Brad Hennessey. Hennessey said that he hasn't had a chance to talk to Munter since Saturday, but he has a good guess of how he is feeling. "I'm sure he's not happy, he a quiet guy," said Hennessey, who came up with Munter at Class A Salem-Keizer. "Everyone here had their struggles. It's a part of the game. I don't know if you get used to it. [Going through it more than once] doesn't make it any easier." Up next: The Giants will open up the season at AT&T Park against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday. Barry Zito is set to make his first regular-season start in the orange and black against Jake Peavy at 1:35 p.m. PT.
Ryan Quinn is a contributor to MLB.com. Associate reporter Becky Regan contributed to this article. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.