LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- It's way early for Bruce Bochy to mull over his projected Giants lineup for 2007, but that's the nature of the managerial beast and what makes Bochy tick. So far, the new skipper likes what he sees, especially with the signings of first baseman Rich Aurilia, third sacker Pedro Feliz, second-base veteran Ray Durham and center fielder Dave Roberts the past few days. Good to have those holes filled, and Bochy envisions other signings over the next few days here and next week.
"We did have some key signings and it looks like the infield is set," said Bochy. "A couple of weeks ago, there were a lot of questions to be answered, and now we're getting some great things done." But several large gaps remain, the biggest being in left field, where Barry Bonds has dwelled since 1993, and Bochy has no qualms about waving pompoms and encouraging the big fella to rejoin the Giants' ranks. "Recruit him? Sure, that's probably part of what an organization does to get him to come back," Bochy said Tuesday at the Winter Meetings. "He's wanted here. Haven't a reason not be optimistic [he'll return]." While managing San Diego, Bochy admitted he did often think how a player of Bonds' caliber would impact his or any other club, even entering his baseball dotage. "He makes everybody better," said Bochy. "We all get a bit older, that's a fact of life. It's hard for any player to keep up with what he's been doing. But Barry showed in the second half he still has a lot of baseball left. "He can do amazing things with his bat, and he's still a very productive player. We saw last year he still has bat speed and power." As for giving him frequent rests or depending on Bonds to tell him whether he's viable a certain day, Bochy said he would not play reruns of last year's game tapes, with Bonds' fragile knees forcing him to skip days and leave games early. "We'll wait and see what happens," said the new manager. Bochy explained the club's priorities now are acquiring a starting pitcher and a reliever, although he has already heard good things about three of the team's young arms -- Kevin Correia, Brad Hennessey and Jonathan Sanchez.
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.