© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
04/09/07 11:13 PM ET
Notes: Bonds OK if Aaron absent
Bochy returns to San Diego; Sweeney starts rehab assignment
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- Hank Aaron's whereabouts, fan negativity, setting the home run record -- none of these potentially provocative topics raised Barry Bonds' blood pressure Monday. Bonds addressed reporters before the Giants' series opener against the San Diego Padres -- a custom he might follow with the team's first visit to each city. It was also an information-gathering session for Bonds, who said that he didn't know of Aaron's recent remark that he wouldn't commit to being on hand if the left fielder breaks his all-time homer mark of 755. Aaron said that he might be playing golf or vacationing with his wife, among other things. That's fine with Bonds. "He has every right to do what he wants to do," Bonds said of Aaron. "There's no reason to be disappointed. If he has other plans, other things to do, I respect that. No hard feelings." Referring to Giants legend Willie Mays, Bonds quickly added with a laugh, "Now, if Willie wasn't there, I'd be disappointed. Because that's my godfather." Besides, Bonds said, he might not amass the 21 home runs he needs to pass Aaron. "You know what? We ain't gotta worry about it," he said. "I'm not even there yet. It's not a topic of conversation. It may not even happen, who knows. ... You can't assume that's going to happen. I'm going to work hard and play hard and do what I can, but if it doesn't, it doesn't." Asked to elaborate, the 42-year-old Bonds said, "I'm old. Real old. I'm just trying to hang in there." Bonds is consciously aiming at collecting his 3,000th career hit, though. He entered the game needing 155, which means he might need to play another season to reach this goal. That's why, Bonds said, "I'm hacking at everything now." Bonds happened to be speaking from the place where he prompted one of the most negative fan reactions that he encountered last season. A spectator flung a toy syringe onto the left-field grass in an obvious, mocking reference to reports that Bonds has used performance-enhancing drugs. Asked about this incident, Bonds insisted that such demonstrations don't rile him. "Why should it bother me?" he said. "People come to the games, they have fun, you've got some hecklers out there -- it's been in baseball forever. It's going to be there well after I'm gone. You can have fun with it, you can blow it [in] one ear and out the other, or you can get very sensitive and let it affect you. It doesn't affect anything I do on that field. I have a job to do, no matter what." One more time: Bruce Bochy has weathered multiple rounds of questions about facing the Padres, whom he managed for the previous 12 seasons. He was asked about this in Spring Training, before last Tuesday's season opener against San Diego at AT&T Park and again before Monday night's game. "Let's be honest: You can't be in a place as long as I was here without having great memories, great respect for those players and the fans. Those are memories I'll cherish," Bochy said. "But personally and professionally, this was the right move for me. I'm excited, I'm happy to be here with the Giants and my focus is forward here." First baseman-outfielder Ryan Klesko, one of several ex-Padres on the Giants roster, identified with Bochy. "Obviously, there's emotion there because I used to be here and there's a lot of familiar faces," said Klesko, a Padre from 2000-06. "It's always nice to see those people but when that game starts, I guarantee you that me and 'Boch' are all about beating whoever's out there. That's just professionalism and competitiveness. Say hello and let's go." Sweeney's rehab: First baseman-outfielder Mark Sweeney (bruised right foot) will report to the Giants' Scottsdale, Ariz., training base Tuesday to begin an injury rehabilitation assignment by playing in extended Spring Training games. Given the Giants' roster crunch and Sweeney's borderline status, there's no guarantee that he'll rejoin the club when he becomes eligible for activation Friday. General manager Brian Sabean indicated that the Giants probably won't trim their pitching staff to 11, which would allow them to keep another reserve position player, and he sounded neither encouraging nor discouraging about Sweeney's chances of returning. "You have to do what's best for the organization," Sabean said. "He understands that. He's been great." Coming up: The Giants and Padres meet again in the series' second game Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. PT. Right-handers Matt Morris of the Giants and Clay Hensley of the Padres will oppose each other in a repeat of last Thursday's pitching matchup, which Morris won.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.