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Bonds blasts one 380 feet for two-run homer vs. Padres

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Barry Bonds needed only four at-bats to
find his home run stroke.

Bonds connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning of San Francisco's 10-6 Cactus League loss to the defending NL West
champion San Diego Padres on Sunday, an impressive shot that
traveled an estimated 380 feet into the right-field balcony
seating.

Not that he's going to gauge his swing this soon.

"Four at-bats?" he said afterward, laughing while sitting at
his locker. "I don't judge that stuff. I don't judge spring
training. ... There's no real evaluation right now. I'm doing
great. Everything's fine, everything's working out great."

It was Bonds' first exhibition homer in two years after he
missed all of last spring following right knee surgery.

The Giants slugger, who started in left field for the first time
and made his second appearance after a start as designated hitter
Thursday, hit a 2-1 curveball from Woody Williams to tie the game
at 2 after he struck out looking leading off the second.

"Barry kept his hands back. That's why he's the second-best
hitter in the game behind me," Williams joked.

Mark Sweeney followed Bonds with a solo shot against his former
club.

Bonds received a warm welcome from the crowd when he came to the
plate in the second for his third at-bat of the spring. He struck
out on five pitches on a nasty inside fastball, and plate umpire
Shawn Rakos enthusiastically called Bonds out.

Bonds struck out on six pitches and singled in a 6-5 loss to the
Angels on Thursday in Tempe.

The 41-year-old Bonds gave way to Todd Linden in left in the
fifth. The seven-time NL MVP never came close to making a defensive
play.

"Thank God," he said. "Running doesn't bother me. Standing
around is more aggravating. My weight's just sitting there."

Bonds was followed onto the field by 14-year-old son Nikolai and
personal stretch man Harvey Shields when he headed out to warm up
about 20 minutes before first pitch. His godfather Willie Mays,
fourth behind Bonds on the career list with 660 homers, watched
closely from just outside the dugout near the on-deck circle.

Bonds pulled the hood of his black sweatshirt over his shaven
head and joined his teammates for pregame jogging and stretching on
a sunny Arizona morning, less than 24 hours after a severe
rainstorm that even featured some snow in the area wiped out games
Saturday.

He isn't scheduled to travel Monday to Tucson for a game against
the Diamondbacks and likely will go through a workout on his own at
Scottsdale Stadium.

Soon, Bonds knows, he will need to start pushing himself a
little harder to truly see what he can do.

"The everyday grind is how I'll know exactly where I am," he
said. "That's when you can tell, when that bell rings is when the
level goes up. There's going to be a time here I'm going to have to
pretend it's like the real opening day season and put a lot of
stress on my body and see how I come out of that. The best time to
do that is down here."

Bonds had been set to be the designated hitter for a sold-out
game against the Oakland Athletics that was rained out Saturday in
Phoenix.

Giants manager Felipe Alou didn't write Bonds into the original
lineup Sunday -- certainly concerned with the condition of the field
at Scottsdale Stadium -- but didn't wait long to post a new version
replacing Linden with Bonds.

"We just want to get him ready on defense," Alou said. "To
see him play left field now was more important than the home run he
hit."

For Bonds, Sunday marked the start of a new week on the heels of
last Tuesday's release of excerpts from an upcoming book that
reveals in vivid detail his alleged steroid use. "Game of
Shadows," written by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters, is set
for release later this month.

"As players, you have some that are pro-Barry and some that are
anti-Barry," said Padres outfielder Eric Young, who spent part of
the 2003 season with the Giants. "One thing they cannot dispute is
that he's on a level by himself.

"I don't care about the alleged steroids or what they're
talking about, this guy was MVP early on in his career. And to be a
seven-time MVP, you're a special ballplayer, I don't care what they
say. I've been around him, I know him, and his workout routine, if
somebody's better, please let me know."

Before his homer, Bonds watched as another man wearing No. 25 --
Mike Cameron -- hit one out.

Cameron connected for a two-run homer in the first inning after
Dave Roberts doubled to get aboard against Matt Cain. The
right-hander, beginning his first full major league season, then
got three straight outs and finished with six strikeouts and no
walks in four innings.

The Giants never asked the Padres for permission to use Bonds as
DH -- though San Diego manager Bruce Bochy would have been OK with
it.

"He looks the same," Bochy said. "I don't see any difference
in his bat speed. He got a hanging breaking ball and took advantage
of it."

Notes
Padres reliever Doug Brocail was recovering in a nearby
hospital Sunday after undergoing angioplasty Saturday morning to
clear a 99-percent blockage of the left anterior descending artery.
The 38-year-old Brocail, who last pitched Wednesday, had complained
of chest tightness that radiated into both arms. He already was
being treated for an abscessed tooth and asthma. He is expected to
be released from the hospital in the next couple of days, then
return to San Diego to be monitored. The team still hopes he will
pitch this season.