PEORIA, Ariz. -- What a difference four days make. Making his second start of the spring and first without battling through symptoms of the flu, right-hander Matt Morris virtually sailed through his three innings almost without incident against the Mariners at Peoria Stadium on Wednesday. "I'm just trying to build and there wasn't much to build on what happened last week," said Morris after coming out of the Giants' 5-4 win. "Being sick and getting into the competition wasn't a good formula for me. The whole thing about pitching is the mental part of it. When you're not even executing, it's hard to get in tune with the catcher and set up guys. I was able to get ahead on the count and think about getting some outs."More
This past Saturday, when Morris was in the thick of the illness, he was pelted for seven runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings against the Brewers in Maryvale. Wednesday was a tad different: one run on three hits and a pair of strikeouts in three innings. Morris retired the last eight hitters he faced after Raul Ibanez singled home Seattle's only run against him with one out in the first inning. He threw 52 pitches. Morris, a free-agent signing prior to the 2006 season, finished 10-15 with a 4.98 ERA, the first sub-.500 season of his 10-year career. The season ended with Morris pitching the final weeks through broken ribs near his back. Morris was the No. 2 starter on that staff behind Jason Schmidt, who has since signed with the Dodgers. This year, Barry Zito is the unquestioned ace and Morris isn't sure where new manager Bruce Bochy will fit him in. "The only time placing matters is to you guys," said Morris, indicating the reporters. "If it's my day, it's my day. I've been the No. 1 guy and I've been the No. 5 guy. When the game starts you're not matching up against the other No. 1 guy all the time. It's just the way the cookie crumbles. However they set up the rotation is how they set it up." Bochy said Morris will probably be a "middle-of-the-order guy." Barry, Barry, Barry: As promised, Barry Bonds took the trip to the west valley for the first time in five years, had two at-bats and went home. Utilized as the designated hitter for the second consecutive game, Bonds again batted third. This time, he doubled to left in the first inning -- a short pop fly toward the line that eluded left fielder Ibanez, who was stationed near the fence -- and slid into second again ahead of the throw. He then took a called third strike to end the third inning against Mariners starter Felix Hernandez. Bonds, who is 3-for-7 on the spring with a pair of doubles and two RBIs, said he had pretty much overcome the bout with bronchitis that had sent him to bed for two days last weekend. "At least I can eat now," said Bonds, who traveled to and from Peoria in his own vehicle accompanied by a security guard. "I'm not perfect, but I'm feeling much better."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less