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Notes: Bonds skipping Cactus opener

Notes: Bonds skipping Cactusopener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Manager Bruce Bochy said on Monday that Barry Bonds won't play in the Giants' Cactus League opener against the Chicago Cubs in Mesa on Thursday. This was hardly a surprise, since Bonds' status is such that he rarely travels to road exhibitions.

However, Bochy added that he won't hesitate to ask Bonds to play on the road if he could use the work.

"Obviously, we need to get him ready for the season," Bochy said. "I don't think it takes Barry a long time to get ready. ... If it [gets to] where he needs at-bats on the road, I'll talk to him about it."

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The Giants used Bonds as a designated hitter in several games last spring to hasten his hitting progress while resting his balky knees. But Bochy indicated that he'll avoid employing a DH this year -- especially later in March, when pitchers work deeper into games. At that point, Bochy will want his starting pitchers to hit so they can get acclimated to their regular-season duties.

Bochy also noted that like his predecessor, Felipe Alou, he'll try to rest Bonds late in regular-season games to save his legs and bolster the Giants defensively if they're ahead.

"The more innings I can get him off his legs, maybe the more games I can start him," Bochy said of Bonds, who turns 43 on July 24.

Ready to serve: Willie Mays, who needs no introduction, appeared in the clubhouse for the first time this spring. Mays professed ignorance when asked to comment on owner Peter Magowan's stated hopes of involving him in festivities surrounding the July 10 All-Star Game at AT&T Park. Mays explained that he has not yet discussed the matter with Magowan.

Really, though, there's absolutely no doubt that Mays will be front and center at the 2007 Midsummer Classic. Not only is he a Giants legend, he shares the record for most All-Star Games played (24) with Stan Musial. Mays is also the career All-Star Game leader in at-bats (75), hits (23), runs (20) and extra-base hits (eight, again tied with Musial). As Hall of Famer Ted Williams is reputed to have said, "They invented the All-Star Game for Willie Mays."

"It's always an honor to be involved in baseball tradition," Mays said. "I don't know what [Magowan] has in mind. I just feel that I'm a part of San Francisco, and whatever's going on in San Francisco, I should be a part of it."

Curtain falls on "Idol": Ivan Ochoa, a non-roster infielder, and Taira Uematsu, a Minor League trainer, salvaged the final day of "Giants Idol," the players' takeoff on "American Idol."

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Sporting a ridiculously oversize fake mustache and carrying a cardboard guitar as his prop, Ochoa concluded the sequence of six performances by belting out "You Will Cry," a Spanish-language song. He even continued singing after he was shut off prematurely on the public-address system. A laughing Master of Ceremonies Omar Vizquel tried -- and failed -- to drag Ochoa off the roof of the Giants' dugout, which served as the stage.

Clad in a gray suit and a necktie -- but no shirt -- Uematsu delivered his rendition of William Hung's "She Bangs," complete with plenty of entertaining gyrations.

"That's what I'm talking about," Vizquel exulted after Uematsu finished.

The other performers were long on costume design but also on lip-synching, which disappointed judges Randy Winn, Rich Aurilia and Barry "Paula Abdul" Zito. Outfielder Fred Lewis donned a baby-blue suit and a Little Richard-style wig to mouth his way through "The Greatest Love of All," catcher Steve Holm became an Elvis impersonator for his attempt at "Jailhouse Rock," and infielder Eugenio Velez and outfielder Eddy Martinez-Esteve dressed in drag for their performances.

Briefly: Explaining why veterans will be excused from intrasquad games on Tuesday and Wednesday, Bochy said, simply, "We have plenty of games." That leaves rookies to participate in the intrasquad games, each expected to last three or four innings. ... Next Monday morning's "B" game will be against Oakland at Scottsdale Stadium. ... Second baseman Ray Durham returned to practice after missing two days with flu-like symptoms.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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