Bonds hits career homer No. 710

Bonds hits homer No. 710

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants slugger Barry Bonds came off the field after batting practice Tuesday night at AT&T Park and had a knowing smile on his face.

"That's the best batting practice I've had in a long time," he said after splaying shots around and out of the six-year-old ballpark. "I'm almost back. I'm finally getting there."

Leading off the second inning, he tried to prove it, launching his second homer of the season and 710th of his career about eight rows into the left-field bleachers. The towering drive came off a fastball thrown by New York Mets right-hander Steve Trachsel, who allowed his third homer ever to Bonds and is one of 417 pitchers to give one up to the slugger. It accounted for the only Giants run in a 4-1 loss.

The opposite-field shot was hit in Bonds' 17th game and pulled him within four of Babe Ruth's 714 and 45 of Hank Aaron's all-time leading 755.

"It wasn't like I was trying to challenge him or anything, I was just trying to pitch to him," said Trachsel, a night after the Mets walked Bonds three times (two intentionally) in a 6-2 Giants victory. "The home run pitch was away like we wanted, it was just up. If you give it up to [Albert] Pujols or Vladimir Guerrero or Barry Bonds and you beat me the other way, I've got to tip my cap to you."

Bonds, though, had a grimace on his face as he circled the bases and television cameras caught him immediately after the homer in the dugout stretching and chatting with Giants head trainer Stan Conte. Moments later, the two disappeared down the steps that lead to the team's third-base-side clubhouse. But Bonds walked slowly to left field after the inning and doffed his cap to the cheering hometown crowd of 35,775 before taking some warmup tosses.

Bonds, who is playing his 21st season trying to overcome the three surgeries on his right knee that limited him to only 14 games and five homers last year, said the knee was simply sore and stiffened up in Tuesday night's cool and breezy conditions. Game-time temperature was 54 degrees.

"I was sore," Bonds said after the game. "It was cold out there. We're used to having heaters in our dugout so you can keep yourself warm and keep yourself loose. But now we don't have them, so I had to go down to the tunnel. It's real tough when it gets that cold. I couldn't loosen up. I had to sit down in the tunnel with heat pads on."

The club used to have blow heaters in the dugout that were generated by kerosene, but those were removed last year because they created a hazard. There are electric heaters, though, built in below and above the benches. A Giants official said late Tuesday night that it was too late for the club to generate a response.

"I don't know why they're gone, but we don't have them," Bonds said.

to the babe and beyond

The first homer of the current season for the lefty-swinging Bonds came Saturday night in Denver in the second inning against Colorado Rockies right-hander Aaron Cook. That shot also was hit to the opposite field, landing deep in the tunnel between the foul pole and the left-field bleachers at Coors Field.

Bonds was 1-for-3 on Tuesday night with the homer and a walk. He has now strolled 24 times already this season, 11 of them intentionally, increasing his National League-leading on-base percentage to .538. He's batting .231 (9-for-39) with the two homers, three doubles, three RBIs and 10 runs scored.

The homer was his 133rd at the ballpark nestled on McCovey Cove, the most he's hit at any stadium still in operation. His all-time high is the 140 he belted at Candlestick Park, which the Giants abandoned after the 1999 season.

"I got a pitch I could hit," Bonds said. "And I didn't miss it."

Bonds declined to respond to a Tuesday night report on the San Jose Mercury News' Web site that Greg Anderson, his former personal trainer, was being called to testify in front of a federal grand jury sitting in San Francisco. The latest grand jury is reportedly attempting to determine whether Bonds committed perjury in 2003 when he told the original grand jury established to investigate the activities of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) that he never knowingly used steroids.

Anderson was one of four men indicted in the case. He pled to reduced charges and served three months in jail.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.