SAN FRANCISCO -- It's been a painful season for Bengie Molina. After every loss, he unstraps his catcher's gear, but the defeats are still heavy upon his shoulders, and each loss is creased across his face at the end of the game. The season-long struggles have followed him home, manifesting into sleepless nights, but through it all, Molina has come out to play every day like the postseason is still on the line. It's an inspiration to see the effort Molina gives every day in the face of a losing season, and his commitment to the Giants was recognized Friday when he was awarded the "Willie Mac" Award in a pregame ceremony. Willie McCovey was joined on the field by previous winners Omar Vizquel, Mark Gardner and Mike Krukow as he presented the award to a choked-up Molina. The Willie Mac Award is presented to the most inspirational player on the team every year, voted on by teammates, coaches and trainers.
"That's a great honor for me, but I wouldn't have done it without my teammates. They're the ones who voted for me and the staff and the coaches. If they think that highly of me, I'll take it with all my heart and go out there and play harder every day," Molina said. The award adds a little value to what has been a depressing season for Molina, but he is still left with a bitter taste in his mouth. "It helps a little bit. I'm like everybody else here: We don't like losing and we don't like where we're at right now," Molina said. "Being able to win an award like that is unbelievable. I would love to trade it for first place and a trip to the playoffs any day of the year, but it can't happen. What happened is I won this award and I'm very proud of it." Giants fans were also a part of Molina's selection. For only the second time since the award's inception in 1980, fans were allowed to vote for the winner, and Molina received the highest total out of 1,617 votes. "It's an honor for me. I thank everybody who voted for me; every single one of them means something to me," Molina said. Bonds-voyage: Barry Bonds missed the first two days of his final homestand as a Giant with a sprained big toe, but manager Bruce Bochy is optimistic that fans will get a chance to see Bonds take left field for a few final games. "It would be great if he could get out there and play for his fans, and they would certainly want to see Barry play before the season ends," Bochy said. Bochy has mentioned Sunday as a likely day for Bonds to return to the starting lineup, which would give him four more home games before the end of the season. Sunday starter: Left-hander Travis Blackley was activated Friday and will make his first Major League start since 2004 in the Giants' series finale Sunday against the Reds. Blackley was 10-8 with a 4.66 ERA in Triple-A. Since Fresno's season ended more than two weeks ago, Blackley threw a bullpen after Thursday's game to start getting ready for Sunday. Home sweet AT&T: Jason Ellison looked like he was feeling good back in AT&T Park on Thursday when he clocked a towering home run for Cincinnati to open the seventh. Ellison, who played with the Giants from '03-06, said it was nice to be back in San Francisco because he missed the city and the team. "There was no hard feelings here," Ellison said of his departure in Spring Training this year. "I love this organization over here, and I hope to come back and play here one day, to tell you the truth. I mean, I just love everything about San Francisco." On deck: Kevin Correia will face off against right-hander Bronson Arroyo in Game 3 of a four-game series against the Reds at 6:05 p.m. PT on Saturday.
Becky Regan is an associate reporter at MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.