Sunday, June 23, 2002

Around the majors

Angry Bonds threatens to charge mound

Enquirer news services

        ATLANTA — Though the scrutiny was hardly as searing as what Mark McGwire, and certainly Roger Maris had to endure, Barry Bonds earned generally strong marks last fall for how he handled his historic rush to 73 homers.

        The players — the nation — were still fogged over by 9-11. Bonds lost one of his best friends — bodyguard Franklin Bradley — the final week of the season. Bonds' relationship with the press, at best, has always been contrary.

        Yet he persevered and might have even won some new fans while he broke the record with grace and kept the San Francisco Giants in postseason contention into the final days.

        That was then. But right now, the Giants are showing new signs of strain, and while Bonds' complaints about being unprotected by his pitching staff play a part, this is a club with assorted problems.

        Before anyone rips Bonds again for his tantrum about being hit without retribution, know that the Giants rank second in the majors only to Houston in being hit by pitches (36 times in 70 games), and San Francisco pitchers have hit the opposition the fewest times (10). That is the source of Bonds' tirade after being plunked by Tampa Bay's Travis Harper on Tuesday.

        Bonds said he is about to take matters into his own hands. He hasn't charged a mound since going after Philadelphia's Ricky Bottalico in 1998.

        “I've had it,” Bonds said. “I'm done with it. I'm not accepting it anymore, nor am I going to take it anymore.... I'm not going to worry about (punishment).”

        HERE'S A FIRST: Baltimore's Mike Bordick thought the call was so wrong that he called the official scorer and asked for a change ... and that he deserved an error.

        It happened last Tuesday, after Bordick couldn't handle Arizona's Quinton McCracken's diving line drive. Ruled a hit, that play meant B.J.Ryan got charged with a run. Bordick also happened to be riding a 51-game errorless streak.

        Diamondbacks scorer Rodney Johnson stood by his original call.

        BROTHERLY LOVE: He's been in town since 1996, so Scott Rolen ought to know how Philadelphia fans can be. But he misjudged. And the heckling, the media criticism, the daily vitriol has finally caught up to the third baseman, who expects to be dealt by the July 31 trading deadline.

        “I admit I've been caught a little off guard,” Rolen said. “I was a little unprepared for what's been going on. The personal stuff, I was unprepared for that. This hasn't been the most conducive environment to succeed in.”

        LOOKING AHEAD: Arizona is expecting to get Todd Stottlemyre and Matt Mantei back this week. Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly will use Stottlemyre in the bullpen.

        • The Padres are considering moving Phil Nevin back to third base, with Sean Burroughs going to second.

        ASTROS AILING: With Shane Reynolds and Dave Mlicki disabled, Houston's starting rotation (Wade Miller, Roy Oswalt, Carlos Hernandez, Tim Redding and Kirk Saarloos) makes only $1.2 million.

        SERIOUS TUTOR: Arizona Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly has asked his first manager in the major leagues — Frank Robinson — to be on the National League staff at the All-Star Game.

        Robinson, who managed in Cleveland, Baltimore and San Francisco, is currently managing the MLB-operated Montreal Expos, and has the team that is to be relocated or contracted in second place in the NL East.

        “He made me grow up in the big leagues,” Brenly said. “He was not a guy who tolerated rookie mistakes well. He expected you to treat this as a profession, not as a game.... That makes it different than the average Sunday sandlot game.”

        TRY AGAIN: No big-leaguer has more starts without a shutout than the Cubs' Jason Bere, a former Red, who will be making his 200th start today.


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