SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- It took Barry Bonds all of 10 plate appearances to launch his first homer of the spring into the far reaches of Scottsdale Stadium. The line shot to right field came on the third offering from A's right-hander Esteban Loaiza to open the fourth inning. "I hit it pretty good," said Bonds, who started in left field on Friday and left the game after that inning as the A's defeated the Giants, 5-3. "I never take Spring Training very seriously, anyway."
Bonds may not be taking Spring Training seriously, but those observing him are. After going 1-for-2 on the afternoon, Bonds is now 4-for-9 (.444) on the spring with a pair of doubles and three RBIs. The two doubles were legged out. And at 42, having recovered from a trio of 2005 knee surgeries, Bonds is running with his old speed and self-assuredness. "I feel great," Bonds said. "My knee feels great. I'm getting it all going." Bruce Bochy, who has taken the brunt of Bonds' wrath at the plate as manager of the Padres, said he marvels at the shape Bonds is in right now. Bochy said Bonds would get three plate appearances each on Saturday and Sunday as the designated hitter against Texas and Seattle, respectively, at Scottsdale Stadium. "We want to just keep him going," said Bochy, the new Giants manager. "There will be plenty of time later in the spring to get him the work he needs in left field." The week began with Bonds climbing out of a sick bed to take batting practice at the ballpark on Monday. That day, he received an antibiotic shot to help ward off the continued symptoms of his bronchial condition. He then had six plate appearances the next two days as the designated hitter. After an off day on Thursday, Bochy saw fit to put Bonds back in the outfield for the second time this spring. Bonds said his decision to play through the illness was a good one. "It was a smart move for me to play," Bonds said. "I had to push myself, but it was the right thing. I had to get out of bed, get out of the house. Ray [Durham] did it, too." Benitez takes liner off knee: There was a downside to the three-inning appearance Armando Benitez had on Thursday in a Minor League camp game. The right-handed closer said he took a line drive off the right knee, the same one that was so bothersome last year. It shut down his 2006 season in early September.
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.