SAN DIEGO (AP) -Barry Bonds took some mighty swings Saturday.
In a rare move by the San Francisco slugger, he showed up at Petco Park well before he typically would and took early batting practice on the field for close to 45 minutes. Nobody could recall the last time he took early cuts not in the inside cage.
The disciplined Bonds, 43 years old for a week and a half now, surely saw that Yankees star Alex Rodriguez ended his long homerless funk Saturday and connected for career homer No. 500. Bonds has been stuck at 754 home runs and one from tying Hank Aaron's record since July 27 against Florida.
The Giants were set to play the middle game of their weekend series against the San Diego Padres on Saturday night, and Bonds was expected to sit out Sunday afternoon's finale before his team heads home to face Washington and Pittsburgh.
He took eleven rounds of early batting practice, hitting 19 home runs.
Nine of his shots landed between center field and left. The first pitcher? His manager, Bruce Bochy. Then hitting coach Joe Lefebvre.
Bonds, who broke up his sessions with a quick water break at one point, leisurely leaned against the cage between turns, right leg over left. His bat-boy son, 17-year-old Nikolai, watched from Bonds' defensive spot in left field and turned to watch a couple of balls sail over his head into the navy blue bleachers.
Padres star Mike Cameron came out to catch a glimpse at the end, giving Bonds a high-five behind the cage. They talked for several minutes.
The slugger, in black shorts and a black T-shirt, even took a few one-handed swings to find his groove. Lefebvre monitored closely and spoke to Bonds several times.
Lefebvre and fellow coach Willie Upshaw have been studying Bonds' swing on film in recent days.
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