CHICAGO -- Barry Bonds was scratched from the Giants lineup on Monday night for the opener of a four-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, and his absence from Tuesday night's game is still a matter of conjecture. Bonds told MLB.com, after the Giants dropped a tough 3-2 decision, that his legs were still sore and that a decision to play would be more like a game-time determination. "I don't know [about playing]," Bonds said. "I'm not sure. We'll see how it goes. See how it feels [on Tuesday]."
Manager Bruce Bochy was far more definitive in his postgame discussion with the media and said he expected his left fielder to play. Bochy said he'd had a chat with Bonds after batting practice and based on that talk, decided not to use him even as pinch-hitter on Monday night. Indeed, Ryan Klesko, a lefty-hitter like Bonds, was in the on-deck circle in the ninth inning to face right-hander Bobby Howry when Bengie Molina struck out to end the game. "I wanted to give [Bonds] the full game," Bochy said about that decision. "But he'll be in there [on Tuesday]." Told later of Bonds' ambivalence, Bochy simply said, "OK. Write it any way you want." Bonds was originally in his accustomed cleanup spot in Monday's starting lineup, but after a lengthy discussion at his locker with head trainer Dave Groeschner, during which Bonds pointed to his calves and lower legs, the wheels began to spin. Coach Ron Wotus, who handles printing the lineup card on his computer, was asked to make the change, flipping second baseman Ray Durham into the No. 4 spot and Kevin Frandsen from right to left field. Dave Roberts, originally slated to sit, started in center. The Giants would ultimately get only four hits in the game and blow a 2-1 lead after two Cubs were out and none were on in the eighth inning. Asked what the problem was with Bonds, Groeschner said: "Nothing, really. He's just tired and sore." Bonds played all 30 innings this weekend at AT&T Park in a three-game sweep by the Dodgers. He was 0-for-12 with three walks and stranded 16 baserunners in the series. That extended his current slump to 0-for-20 with eight walks and six strikeouts since his last base hit, a single in the fourth inning on July 5 in Cincinnati. Bonds hit his 751st homer on July 3 in the first inning at Great American Ball Park, leaving him four behind Hank Aaron's all-time Major League Baseball-leading 755, and hasn't smacked one in his 33 plate appearances since then.
Bonds last missed a game because of "general soreness" on July 4, and his current slump began the next day.
Bonds was so upset with his play this weekend, he said it was "an embarrassment" for him "to wear this uniform."
Bochy said before the game on Monday that he could understand Bonds reacting that way.
"It shows how much pride he has," Bochy said. "He's set the bar so high in his career. We're not happy with how things are going here. All of us. He's not happy with the way it's going as a club. Personally, I understand he was pretty frustrated with himself. We've got to wash that off, and we have a big series here."
Bonds, who turns 43 on July 24, spent batting practice on Monday in the clubhouse and went into the training room to ice his lower legs. Bochy wouldn't divulge the context of his conversation with Bonds. And when asked whether the slugger was on a day-to-day basis, Bochy said:
"I'm not thinking about that. I'm just thinking about [Tuesday]."
The Giants, on a five-game losing streak, have two night games here prior to day games on Wednesday and Thursday. Their three-game series in Milwaukee beginning Friday night also features a pair of night games prior to a Sunday day game.
The last time Bonds missed back-to-back starts was June 5-6 in Arizona to nurse shin splints in both legs. He went back into the lineup on June 7 and started 18 games in a row, finishing June with a .364 batting average, four homers and 13 RBIs for the month.
Bochy said the long plane flight to Chicago after Sunday's loss to the Dodgers in San Francisco also might have contributed to Bonds' general weariness.
"It may have," Bochy said. "I notice that the flights catch up with him a little bit."
|"I don't know [about playing]. I'm not sure. We'll see how it goes. See how it feels [on Tuesday]."|
|-- Barry Bonds|
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.