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DuPuy to watch Bonds in lieu of Selig

DuPuy to watch Bonds in lieu of Selig

SAN FRANCISCO -- Major League Baseball has evidently determined that a high-ranking official will be at every game as Barry Bonds closes in on Hank Aaron's landmark home run record.

Thus, when Commissioner Bud Selig departed after Thursday's 4-2 Giants victory over the Braves at AT&T Park, Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer, was called out of the bullpen, said Rich Levin, the Commissioner's top spokesman.

Selig is spending Hall of Fame Weekend in Cooperstown, N.Y., and will preside over Sunday's induction of Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. DuPuy will be in San Francisco for the three-game weekend series between the Giants and Marlins beginning Friday night. Selig is expected to return when the Giants open a six-game road trip Tuesday night in Los Angeles. Bonds is sitting at 753 homers, two behind Aaron's all-time record of 755.

"Well, I kiddingly have said I have a day job, which I do have, but the chances are, yes, I probably [will be there]," said Selig, who joined the chase Tuesday and has been in the house for the last three games. "They're in L.A. on Tuesday night, and I'd love to be there and for it to happen."

Bonds was back in the lineup for Thursday's finale of a four-game series after sitting out Wednesday night's 2-1 Giants win and figures to play in at least two of the three weekend games, starting with Friday night.

Bonds went homerless for the seventh consecutive game, but he has started only five of them. Otherwise, he was 1-for-4 with a broken-bat double in the seventh inning before being pulled for a pinch-runner.

Bonds said afterwards that he's just trying to get his offensive game back in order.

"Forget the home runs, I'm just trying to get some base hits at this point," said Bonds, who played all 13 innings of Tuesday night's 7-5 loss and went 1-for-5 in that game with a single, walk and two strikeouts looking. "I'm just trying to get my swing back together."

Bonds' last homers came on July 19, when he smacked Nos. 752 and 753 into a strong wind at Wrigley Field in Chicago. He has six hits in his last 42 at-bats, with the two homers, six RBIs and 15 walks.

Bonds said Thursday that he's just trying to level his swing, which in recent days has produced a number of grounders and line drives. He has hit only two fly balls (both outs) in the 24 plate appearances since he blasted a three-run shot into the basket near the top of the brick wall left of center at Wrigley during the seventh inning on July 19.

"I'm just going after fly balls and grounders at this point," Bonds said. "If I do that, the lift will come."

By making a similar adjustment, Bonds worked his way out of a slump in which he hit .194 for the month of May, elevating his June production to .364. During July, Bonds is hitting .184 (9-for-49) with three homers and 10 RBIs. Since ending April with eight home runs, he's hit homers in only 10 different games, giving him 19 on the season.

Bonds said that with the record approaching, his thought process is pretty complicated at this point.

"I'm going to go back to try and draw on some things," Bonds said, when asked how he's attempting to break out of his slump. "It's a little more complicated than that. There's too many things in your head to narrow it down to one thing, one statement."

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.

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