Phillies 3B David Bell has fond memories of his cousin who was killed in Iraq this week. Lance Cpl. Timothy Michael Bell Jr., 22, Bell's cousin and a nephew of Royals Manager Buddy Bell, was among the 14 Marines killed Wednesday by a roadside bomb.

"We're all going to miss him," David Bell said yesterday. "I haven't had a chance to talk to his dad. According to my family, who've talked to him, they said he's just very proud of him and he died doing what he wanted to be doing.

"It kind of puts it in perspective for all of us. I'm honored to be related to him. He's a hero."

Bell started at third and went 1 for 4 in a win over the Cubs. Manager Charlie Manuel said he would have allowed Bell to take the day off had he asked.

* BONDS MAY YET PLAY: Giants OF Barry Bonds, 41, remains "optimistic" about playing this season, though he has no idea if his ailing knee will allow it.

He took a more upbeat approach yesterday in a posting on his Web site three days after saying he didn't expect to resume his quest for the home run record until 2006 because of his troublesome right knee. He's had three operations on the knee since Jan. 31.

"I'm still unsure of if and when I'll be able to come back this year," Bonds wrote. "I'm working hard on the bike and the elliptical machine, but I'm just not there yet."

* NEW STATION FOR CARDS: St. Louis games, broadcast on Viacom Inc.'s KMOX-AM radio for 52 years, will be carried by closely held Dorsey Media Group's KTRS-AM next season. The Cardinals also purchased 50 percent of KTRS as part of the agreement. Mike Shannon and Wayne Hagin will continue to broadcast the team's games.

-- From News Services

"It kind of puts it in perspective for all of us," the Phillies' David Bell, above, said of cousin Timothy Bell, who died in Iraq.