Notes: Alou on verge of returning

Notes: Alou on verge of returning

NEW YORK -- A key offensive threat is expected to be back in the Giants' lineup Monday for the start of a seven-game homestand -- veteran Moises Alou.

"It depends how I feel after the long flight ... and if they want to activate me," said the half-joking Alou, on the disabled list since May 6 with a severely sprained right ankle.

There's still swelling in the ankle, and while Alou said he's around 90 percent healed and may have to deal with a sore leg for the rest of the season, he's ready to play. Now.

"I'm feeling pretty good, since Florida," he said. "If you had asked me before, then I'd say I'd play in two weeks, but in Florida, it must have been the water. I can run, but will have trouble playing the outfield moving around."

No matter. Alou's big bat -- he was hitting .378 with seven homers and 25 RBIs -- was sorely missed. He leads the club with a .671 slugging percentage and a .455 batting average with runners in scoring position.

"He makes a big difference with those RBIs," said manager Felipe Alou. "I hope we have a nice, smooth flight."

Moises Alou was potent batting fifth behind Barry Bonds, and immediately following intentional walks to the slugger, Alou was 4-for-4 with nine RBIs.

"You get upset," said Alou of not playing. "You have to work all over again like Spring Training. Back to step No. 1. But I'm very excited, because I'm feeling real good now. It's swollen, but I think it's playable.

"I know we're going to be a lot better," he said of his return. "I don't want to take away anything from anybody, but with me in, we're a lot better team. I think whether I go 10-for-20 or 0-for-20, my presence means a lot."

Alfonzo excited: The vision, like a video replay, kept whirling in rookie Eliezer Alfonzo's mind late Saturday night: sixth inning in the first game of the doubleheader, Orlando Hernandez throws a two-seam fastball ... POW! A two-run homer to left field for Alfonzo's first Major League hit and, fittingly enough, the game-winning shot.

"It was awesome," said Alfonzo of the blow. "Last night I kept thinking about it in bed -- I couldn't shut my eyes. It is my best moment in baseball. Everybody wants to be in the big leagues, and this was my first day, hit a home run, this is unbelievable."

Making it more joyous was that wife Patricia and son Omar -- he has the boy's face tattooed on his right arm -- were in the stands watching his moment.

"And my family in Venezuela saw it on TV," said Alfonzo. "They were all excited."

Sick bay: A nasty virus has struck several Giants, with Mark Sweeney feeling ill the past few days as well as pitchers Jamey Wright and Matt Morris.

"We'll talk about Morris after the game," said trainer Stan Conte of Sunday's scheduled starter. "Wright had it last night but had a helluva performance."

Wright allowed only two runs and five hits over eight innings despite being -- literally and figuratively -- under the weather on a rainy Saturday night.

Sweeney reported feeling OK Saturday afternoon and thought he'd be much better Sunday. But no. "I was up all night," said a somewhat pale Sweeney.

Draftees signed: Six players have signed Minor League contracts with the Giants and will report to the rookie camp soon. The three players from last year's draft are center fielder James Simmons, 24th round; right fielder Thomhas Neal, 36th round; and right-handed starter David Newton, 37th round.

Fifth-year seniors eligible to sign pre-draft are right-hander Ryan McGrath, plus catchers Tyler LaTorre and Adam Witter.

Coming up: Left-hander Noah Lowry (1-3, 4.05 ERA) is riding a four-game losing streak, but hopes to break that spell Monday night at AT&T Park when he faces the Florida Marlins. Lowry lost to the Fish last Tuesday at Dolphin Stadium, 5-3. The visitors send right-hander Brian Moehler (3-4, 6.38 ERA) to the hill.

Rich Draper is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.