Holding at Home Run No. 713, Bonds Gets the Night Off

By Steve Fainaru
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO, May 8 -- One home run shy of tying Babe Ruth, San Francisco Giants left fielder Barry Bonds sat out Monday night's game against the Houston Astros and will resume his chase Tuesday night.

Bonds's absence, with the Giants struggling and the club's leading hitter, Moises Alou, out with a sprained ankle, underscores the fragility of his assault on history in a league without the designated hitter. For the past month, Bonds's ravaged right knee has slowed him in the outfield and left him vulnerable to low and outside pitches he once pounded.

Manager Felipe Alou tries to take advantage of breaks in the schedule to rest Bonds, but the Giants were forced to play Monday to make up a rainout last month. Bonds hit his 713th homer Sunday night during a nationally televised game in Philadelphia; the team arrived back in San Francisco around 3:30 a.m.

"It's tough, but just because [Moises Alou] is out we can't push Barry," Alou said. "We don't want to lose him for two weeks, or three, or four months."

Alou said Bonds had decided to skip the game during the recent road trip, before he hit No. 713, a moon shot that hit the right field facade. The schedule leaves him with six more games -- three against the Cubs, three against the Dodgers -- to pass Ruth during this homestand. Bonds hit his 500th, 600th, 660th (tying Willie Mays for third place) and 700th home runs at AT&T Park.

He, the Giants and Major League Baseball are hoping he reaches this milestone in San Francisco, the only city in the country where he is not booed in the wake of allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs to boost his home run totals. The Giants have a day game Thursday against the Cubs after a Wednesday night game, a scenario in which Bonds normally takes the day off. But Alou said he was unsure of Bonds's schedule for the remainder of the week.

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