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March 7, 2007 at 8:28 AM

Bonds vs. Felix

As if we weren’t in for enough of a treat today with Felix Hernandez on the mound: breaking news just in is that Sir Barry of Bonds himself had deemed it OK to participate in today’s Cactus League game. It will be the first ever appearance by Bonds in Peoria. Yes, there are some good seats still available if you happen to be near SeaTac and can hop on a jet. Or, maybe not.
The reason Bonds is playing today? Sources tell me he’s bummed about missing the past three games played by his squad because of a hacking cough. Funny, that’s what a lot of fans in the stands tend to have when he steps to the plate. Only thing is, their coughs, if you listen real close, sound almost like a word that rhymes with “deltoids”. Maybe it’s just me.
Anyway, nothing like a little Bonds to take the monotony out of the first week of spring games. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad we’re seeing some actual competition down here instead of chronicling the team’s exploits in pitchers’ fielding practice. But after the eighth and ninth innings on Tuesday, it’s easy to remember that these games are only a facsimile — and not a very reasonable one at that — of the real thing.
Jose Lopez is in today’s lineup at second base, batting ninth. Raul Ibanez will also play for the first time since tweaking his shoulder on Sunday.
Talked to Aaron Small today and he’s about to start throwing off flat ground in a few minutes. After that, if all looks good by tomorrow morning, he’ll have a bullpen session a day after that and then get in a game by early next week. Small experienced back spasms on Saturday, just before he was to pitch his first two spring innings. It was a tough break for Small, who faces still (oops! — stiff) competition to land a long relief role. The reason I care so much is that this is a guy who went 10-0 for the Yankees just two years ago. Hard not to root for him. Shows you how fleeting good fortune can be.
Wonder how long Bonds would sit out if his back spasmed up? No word if George Mitchell is planning to take in today’s game.
********NOTE ON BONDS IN PEORIA***********
Contrary to what was written above, this will not be the first visit to Peoria by Bonds. That was the word we were initially given, but some additional checking, prompted by a comment from reader “hjw” in the thread below, has turned up multiple eye-witnesses who remember him playing in games here. Sorry about that, folks. Just carried away in all of the excitement. Bonds will be the DH today, batting third in the order. I doubt Hernandez will walk him intentionally in a spring training game, though the presence of Bengie Molina hitting fourth for San Francisco certainly gives him ample incentive to do so.

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