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Notes: Bonds racking up playing time

Notes: Bonds racking up playing time

CINCINNATI -- Of all the noteworthy statistics Barry Bonds has recorded this season, the most impressive one might be the most basic: games played.

The Giants played their 81st game Tuesday night, marking the season's numerical halfway point, and Bonds had appeared in 74 of them, including 68 starts. Should Bonds somehow maintain this pace, his 148-game total would represent his highest activity level since 2001, when he played 153 games.

Not bad for a guy with sore knees who'll turn 43 on July 24.

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"I've been a little surprised in the fact that he has played as much as he has and how healthy he's been," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Bonds has been so fit that Bochy said he was leaning toward starting the left fielder Wednesday, in a day game following a night game -- which used to mean an automatic day off for him.

"We'll see how he gets through tonight," Bochy said. That, of course, was before Bonds launched his 751st career home run in the first inning, leaving him four shy of tying Hank Aaron's all-time record.

Aurilia's back: Not only has infielder Rich Aurilia been activated, but he'll also be active. Bochy said that he plans on starting Aurilia somewhere in the lineup Wednesday.

That's fine with Aurilia, who feels sufficiently recovered from his sore neck. Aurilia tested himself in a two-game injury rehabilitation stint last weekend with Triple-A Fresno, going 2-for-8 at Las Vegas.

"All in all, it was productive for me to go," Aurilia said. "My goal was to make sure I was healthy enough to play."

Aurilia thought that coming off an injury might actually help his timing at the plate, though he hasn't played in a Major League game since June 16 at Boston.

"You slow yourself down a little bit instead of being all geared up," he said.

Although Ryan Klesko has established himself as the Giants' primary first baseman, Bochy indicated that Aurilia still will start a fair number of games at first.

"I think he's going to need his breaks," Bochy said of Klesko, referring to the 36-year-old's continuing adjustment after missing virtually the entire 2006 season.

As for Aurilia, resting one more day didn't bother him.

"We scored 13 the other day," he said. "Might as well keep those guys in there."

Chulk on leave: Right-hander Vinnie Chulk officially was placed on bereavement leave to be with his father, who was scheduled to undergo heart surgery in Florida. The Giants recalled left-hander Pat Misch from Triple-A Fresno to fill the bullpen vacancy.

Misch has thrived this season, posting a 2-3 record and one save with a 2.03 ERA in 31 appearances. But Chulk has excelled lately by going unscored upon in 19 of his previous 21 appearances, including the last eight in a row.

Misch's arrival swelled San Francisco's left-handed bullpen contingent to four. They briefly had five in midseason 2005, when Kirk Rueter was demoted from the starting rotation to join Jason Christiansen, Scott Eyre, Jeff Fassero and Jack Taschner.

Ex-Red's perspective: Aurilia, who spent 2005-06 in Cincinnati, had this to say about the Reds' dismissal of manager Jerry Narron:

"I do know one thing from being here last year with Mr. Castellini -- he wants to win, and if you're not winning, somebody's probably going to pay for that," Aurilia said, referring to Reds owner Robert Castellini. "I enjoyed playing for Bob. He's just trying to get those guys back on track."

Oh yeah, Omar: Omar Vizquel logged his 2,500th career game at shortstop, becoming only the third at his position to reach that milestone. The others are Luis Aparicio (2,583) and Ozzie Smith (2,511).

Coming up: The Giants and Reds continue their series Wednesday morning at 10:15 a.m. PT with Matt Cain (2-9), who has lost his last six decisions, opposing Cincinnati right-hander Matt Belisle (5-5).

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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