Bonds may miss opening day

Posted: Friday, March 18, 2005

The San Francisco Giants are worried Barry Bonds' latest setback could force the slugger to miss opening day, but Kenny Rogers, Matt Morris and Greg Maddux weren't too concerned after struggling in exhibition outings.

Bonds pushed his surgically repaired right knee too hard, and underwent a second operation on the knee that put his availability for the season opener in doubt.

The Giants didn't offer a timetable for the seven-time NL MVP's return, but said in a statement that he had arthroscopic surgery to repair tears in the knee, similar to his operation on Jan. 31.

''This is certainly a setback, and a significant one,'' general manager Brian Sabean said. ''Obviously, we didn't know we were going to go down this path. Barry did what he felt he could tolerate on any given day. I'm glad this happened now instead of three days before the season.''

Trainer Stan Conte wouldn't rule out the chance said of Bonds being ready for the opener on April 5 against the Dodgers, but said it is ''not an unreasonable thing'' to assume he'll be sidelined past that date.

Bonds is expected to return to Arizona next week. He hasn't worked out on the field since taking batting practice Sunday. He hasn't played in any Cactus League games.

Bonds begins the season with 703 homers, third on the career list behind Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755).

Rogers, coming off a career-high 18 wins last season, gave up six runs and 10 hits in 3 2-3 innings Thursday in the Texas Rangers' 7-5 loss to the San Francisco Giants in Surprise, Ariz.

Rogers, who won a career-high 18 games last season, had pitched just once this spring. He gave up a run in an inning when he started the opener March 3 against Kansas City.

The 40-year-old left-hander had since pitched in a 'B' game and in an intrasquad game against minor leaguers. Facing a Giants lineup missing Bonds and several other starters, Rogers threw 44 of 71 pitches for strikes — and needed 26 pitches his last inning.

''He's fine,'' manager Buck Showalter said. ''At the end, he was trying to get his pitch count up.''

Morris, who had offseason shoulder surgery, gave up six hits and three runs in 2 1-3 innings against Baltimore at Jupiter, Fla., before the game was called because of rain in the middle of the third inning with St. Louis trailing 3-1.

''Actually I felt real good out there,'' Morris said. ''I felt much better than I did my first outing. The ball was coming out real good, maybe too good. I had more whip and more juice on my pitches.

''Maybe that was part of the problem. I felt so good I tried to do too much and got a couple of pitches up in the zone. It goes to show you if you feel a little better you probably have to concentrate a little more. I was glad to get the work in. That's the main thing.''

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa also focused on the positives in Morris' outing.

''He looked good,'' La Russa said. ''He pitched out of a real jam in the first. When you get something positive out of a day like this then I'm happy.''

Maddux picked up his first win of the spring despite allowing four runs on seven hits with a walk and four strikeouts in five innings of the Chicago Cubs' 6-4 victory against Oakland at Phoenix.

''If you have to give up four runs you should at least feel good about it,'' Maddux said. ''They hit some good pitches.''

Before the game, Cubs manager Dusty Baker suggested Maddux is a strong possibility to start on opening day with Mark Prior and Kerry Wood sidelined by injuries.

Maddux, who lost his last opening-day start with the Atlanta Braves in 2003, is 6-1 in eight career starts in the opener.

However, he doesn't want to talk about the possible start until the Cubs make a decision.

''They haven't said anything to me and when they do, we'll talk about it,'' Maddux said.

The New York Mets released veteran utilityman Joe McEwing after five years with the team.

McEwing was given the option of staying and working out with the team or being released outright.

''It's a part of the game,'' he said. ''I've just got to out there and start a new chapter of my life.''

McEwing was competing with a host of newcomers for a reserve spot this year. He was hitting just .133 this spring after batting .254 with one home run and 16 RBIs in 75 games last season.

Padres 16, Rockies (ss) 7

At Peoria, Ariz., it was quite an afternoon for Ryan Klesko and Eric Young. Klesko looked like his former self, driving in six of San Diego's first seven runs on two homers and a single.

Young, signed by the Padres as a free agent in December, got to play in the same game with his 19-year-old son, Eric Jr., a Rockies farmhand brought up specifically for this game to play second base against his father's team.

In other games:

Royals 5, Angels 3

At Tempe, Ariz., Mike Sweeney had three hits, Emil Brown drove in two runs to lead Kansas City past Los Angeles.

Royals right-hander Denny Bautista allowed one run in three innings, and has given up only two runs in 10 innings this spring. Brown and Eli Marrero had two hits apiece, and Angel Berroa homered for Kansas City, which finished with 14 hits.

Steve Finley had two hits and two RBIs for the Angels.

Diamondbacks (ss) 13, Brewers 10

At Tucson, Ariz., Alan Zinter hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning for the Arizona split squad.

Troy Glaus continued his strong hitting, going 2-for-3 with a double, homer and four RBIs. The Diamondbacks' new third baseman is 10-for-21 — a .476 average — with five extra-base hits and 12 RBIs in nine games.

Zinter's game-winning homer was just his second hit in eight at-bats this spring but capped a 19-hit day for the Diamondbacks.

Milwaukee had 17 hits, and has had at least 10 in 12 of its 16 games this spring. The Brewers lead all teams in batting with a .306 average so far.

Diamondbacks (ss) 5, Rockies (ss) 3

At Tucson, Ariz., Chad Tracy drove in three runs and Michael Gosling pitched four scoreless innings to lead Arizona in a matchup of split-squad teams.

Tracy hit an RBI double off the glove of Rockies first baseman Todd Helton in the first inning. He extended Arizona's lead to 4-0 with a two-run triple in the fifth, and finished 2-for-5 after entering the game with only five hits in 24 at bats.

Devil Rays 7, Phillies 3

At Clearwater, Fla., Eduardo Perez hit a three-run homer, and Josh Phelps, Shane Halter and Jason Pridie had three hits apiece for Tampa Bay.

Phillies' starter Randy Wolf allowed six runs and eight hits over four innings, allowing three runs in the first inning as the Devil Rays benefited from an infield single and a bloop hit along the way.

The Phillies scored all of their runs on homer, including Jim Thome's team-leading fourth of the spring.

Rain resulted in cancellation of the rest of the games in Florida.

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