Bonds ready to play

Posted: Sunday, September 11, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO — Barry Bonds will be activated from the disabled list Monday after being medically cleared to play by Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Bonds, who hasn't played all season while recovering from three operations on his right knee since Jan. 31, would be available to resume his quest for the home run record when the Giants open a three-game series against first-place San Diego on Monday night at SBC Park.

The team said it consulted with Yocum, who recommended giving Bonds one more day as a precautionary measure in hopes of keeping him from further injuring the knee.

''I saw it on the scoreboard,'' manager Felipe Alou said after Saturday's 5-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs. ''I didn't have a lot of time to think about it because I was managing the last two innings. Tomorrow is the big day to make plans. He's been practicing and running around. That's good enough for me, of course.''

Bonds took a day off from baseball activity Saturday after five straight days of on-field workouts that tested his knee and overall health.

The seven-time NL MVP was scheduled to speak to Yocum, the renowned Angels' team orthopedist, by telephone on Saturday afternoon before the team decided when to activate him from the disabled list.

''He can wait 'til Monday,'' said Cubs manager Dusty Baker, whose club concludes its four-game series with San Francisco on Sunday. ''The Padres are the team he's had his most success against.''

Alou had insisted it would be Monday at the latest.

Bonds declined to speak to reporters before Saturday's game and was gone by the time it ended.

''There's an electricity and a buzz,'' Giants executive vice president Larry Baer said Saturday. ''When he does return, there will be a sense of normalcy here.''

Bonds wanted to make his return only once he was able to play in left field — not just as a pinch-hitter or in a backup role.

Bonds, who turned 41 last month, has 703 home runs, third on the career list behind Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755). Carlton Fisk's 53 homers are the most any player has hit after turning 41, and that is exactly the number Bonds needs to break Aaron's record.

Bonds will have to do it after missing nearly an entire season and with a knee that might never be 100 percent again.

His teammates refuse to get their hopes up yet.

''I'll wait until Monday, if I see him in the lineup,'' first baseman J.T. Snow said. ''I'm not concerned about Monday. I'm concerned about our loss today.''

Shortstop Omar Vizquel is eager to play with Bonds for the first time — Vizquel joined the Giants this season after spending the last 11 years with the Cleveland Indians.

''We're still fighting for something and when he comes back it will be even better,'' Vizquel said. ''I don't know what type of shape he's in, but personally it will be great. I've never played in the National League and I'm looking forward to playing with him.''

Bonds batted .362 last season with 45 homers and 101 RBIs and walked a major league-record 232 times on the way to his record seventh MVP award.

His most recent operation was May 2 to drain fluid and examine an infection.

''There will be a day when Barry will no longer be a Giant,'' Baer said. ''Nobody expected that to be '05 or '06. It's been a different year.''

Bonds will be followed in the batting order by Moises Alou, the team's only All-Star this season. The Giants have been waiting all year to see Alou in this role, believing with Alou behind Bonds teams might think twice about walking the slugger.

''Mo's really not getting many pitches to hit,'' Felipe Alou said. ''He doesn't have the patience of Barry Bonds.''

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