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Notes: Aurilia remembers Hancock

Notes: Aurilia remembers Hancock

PHOENIX -- Rich Aurilia played with Josh Hancock on the Cincinnati Reds in 2005, and he remembered the relief pitcher Sunday as a quiet man who went about his business.

Hancock, a member of the Cardinals since the start of the 2006 season, died in St. Louis on Saturday night in a traffic accident.

"He was pretty much on the disabled list the whole year I played with him," said Aurilia, the Giants utility player who returned to the team this season as a free agent. "I can't say I spent too much time with him because they wouldn't let him travel with the team. At home he was always around, and he just did his work.

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"But you hate to see something like that happen to anybody. Somebody just told me about it a few minutes ago. What can you say? Your thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

Aurilia, in the starting lineup Sunday against the D-backs at third base, played for the Reds in 2005 and 2006. Hancock was traded by the Phillies to the Reds at the non-waiver trade deadline in 2004. He had surgery to repair a groin that offseason and was on the disabled list from April 1 to Sept. 1, 2005, Aurilia's first year with the team. Hancock was released by the Reds on Jan. 12, 2006, and was signed by the Cardinals a little more than a month later.

"I was just glad to see him do so well last year," Aurilia said. "The Reds released him before we even got to camp. He had a really good year and won the World Series. I was happy to see that success."

As far as having a contemporary die so suddenly, Aurilia said those incidents help put life into perspective.

"You always think something like that won't happen to me," he said. "But it happens to everybody. Unfortunately it's always magnified when it happens to somebody in the public eye. It happens to people every day. Sometimes it's a wakeup call."

Josh Hancock, 1978-2007

Barry vs. A-Rod: No one can take away the month of April Alex Rodriguez is having for the New York Yankees. But very quietly, Barry Bonds has put together a comparable month for the Giants.

Though A-Rod is leading Bonds in almost all offensive categories, a look inside the numbers shows that Bonds is right there.

Going into Sunday's action, Rodriguez led in homers (14-8), runs batted in (34-17), runs scored (27-15), doubles (7-3), hits (31-21) and slugging percentage (.899 to .828). Bonds led in on-base percentage (.519-.412), batting average (.362-.348) and walks (19-9). He also struck out 14 fewer times (23-9).

Bonds did all this in 31 fewer at-bats (89-58). And by the way, Bonds is 42, having returned from two down years because of knee surgery, and a healthy Rodriguez is 31.

"The thing is the walks," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who watched D-backs skipper Bob Melvin walk Bonds five times the last two games, four of them intentionally. "Can you imagine how many homers the guy would've hit if they'd have pitched to him? And I'm not talking about just now, I'm talking about over the course of the years."

Bonds has walked a record 2,445 times in 22 seasons.

Lineup shuffle: Bonds was kept out Sunday as promised, along with regulars Dave Roberts and Bengie Molina as Bochy shuffled the lineup, giving rare starts to Todd Linden, Lance Niekro and Eliezer Alfonzo. Plus, Pedro Feliz was moved out to left field from third base for the first time this season.

Feliz batted fifth behind Ray Durham in the cleanup spot and Randy Winn was elevated to leadoff from the bottom of the order. Niekro, Linden and Alfonzo anchored the lower portion of the lineup.

It was good new, bad news for the two right-handed hitters and the switch-hitting Linden. Hey, you're playing, but you're facing future Hall of Fame left-hander Randy Johnson.

"That's why we have Niekro here, to play against tough left-handers," Bochy said. "And it's too bad about Alfonzo, but Bengie needed a day off. Randy Johnson just happens to be pitching."

Alfonzo has only played in six of the Giants' first 22 games and was 0-for-11 heading into Sunday.

Coming up: The Giants return home Monday night to open a 10-game stand at AT&T Park against the Rockies, who will be followed in by the Phillies and the Mets. The Rockies are throwing right-hander Josh Fogg (1-1, 5.79 ERA) against Giants left-hander Noah Lowry (2-2, 3.38).

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.

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