Bonds seems unfazed by home run drought
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ” Barry Bonds’ legs are tired from drawing so many walks, and the strike zone sure seems big these days.
Still, the San Francisco slugger seems unfazed by his recent home run drought. He’s had his share of dry spells before. He insists his right knee is just fine, despite all the chatter about what might be wrong with him now ” stuff he says is being “created” by the media to explain his funk.
“My legs are fine. I’m healthy,” Bonds said before Tuesday night’s game against the Houston Astros. “I’m just exhausted. I’m not playing for my statistics. I’m past that stage of my career. I want to win a championship. That’s why I don’t talk about me anymore.”
Bonds entered Tuesday’s game having gone 11 games since his last home run ” his longest homerless stretch since the first 13 games of 2006. When he hit No. 745 of his career and the 11th this year on May 8 against the Mets’ Tom Glavine, Bonds seemed a sure bet for the All-Star game in San Francisco’s waterfront ballpark on July 10.
“I think he still is,” owner Peter Magowan said. “Look at his statistics and he deserves to be there.”
He had gone 32 at-bats and 49 plate appearances without a homer, remaining 10 shy of tying Hank Aaron’s career record of 755. During that stretch since the homer, Bonds has drawn 17 walks with five intentional free passes, struck out seven times and was batting .156 (5-for-32).
“The walks are killing me,” said Bonds, who turns 43 on July 24. “My legs are tired. You’ve got to get pitches to hit.”
The Giants also believe Bonds has not been getting the benefit of doubt on calls from umpires.
“If anybody’s had some tough calls go against them, it’s been Barry,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I’ve looked at them (at-bats) on video. You’re talking about someone who knows the strike zone as well as anybody. He doesn’t complain, but he’s still getting frustrated when calls are going against him.”
Bonds was in the lineup Tuesday, his 41st game out of the Giants’ 45. He figured to have more chances to rest, but injuries and changes in the outfield have pressed him into extra duty. In 2006, Bonds played in 130 games and drew 115 walks. He already has 47 this season.
Bochy realizes that when Bonds is forced to be on his feet all game long, it takes its toll. The seven-time NL MVP is scheduled to get a break Wednesday, which coupled with the team’s off day Thursday will give him nearly two days to recover.
“He’s played a lot,” Bochy said. “I have to remind myself he is approaching 43. It’s amazing he’s doing what he’s doing at his age. Barry’s going to be fine. This is something people aren’t accustomed to. All great hitters, everybody goes through it. This game isn’t easy. He’s done such a great job carrying us early. He is human, even though he doesn’t seem to be. …
“You add in the fact he’s approaching his milestone and he is getting so close. There’s more tension and it’s raised some eyes. ‘What’s going on with Barry?”‘