Slumping Bonds Scratched From Lineup

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 26, 2005

CHICAGO – Barry Bonds needed a physical and mental break in a big way. The slumping slugger was scratched from San Francisco’s starting lineup Monday night, letting him rest his aching legs and giving him time to focus on something besides his latest funk at the plate.

He might just take Tuesday off, too.

Bonds was originally listed in the cleanup spot and left field for the opener of the four-game series against the Chicago Cubs. Manager Bruce Bochy made the switch after talking to Bonds before the game.

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“He’s had some general soreness in the legs,” Bochy said.

Bonds _ available to pinch hit, if needed _ was in a season-worst 0-for-20 slump, going six games without a hit. He has 751 homers, four shy of tying Hank Aaron’s record, but hasn’t hit one out since July 3 at Cincinnati.

Bonds was unavailable for comment before the game.

Over the weekend, Bonds played 30 innings as the Giants were swept in a three-game home series by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He missed two games early last month at Arizona with shin splints.

Bonds spent most of his time before the game Monday in the training room, where he used the whirlpool on his fatigued lower body. Kevin Frandsen started in left field in Bonds’ place.

Bonds played in 81 of the club’s first 89 games and was selected as a starter for last Tuesday’s All-Star game in his home ballpark _ his first All-Star game since 2004. He has said in recent days he’s still tired from all the festivities.

His frustration with his poor play of late showed after Sunday’s game, when he got upset after going 0-for-5 for the second straight day and committing his second error of the year.

“It’s an embarrassment for me to be wearing this (expletive deleted) uniform ’cause of the way I’m playing. There, that’s it. Now go away,” Bonds said.

Then he overturned a laundry cart as he walked through the clubhouse, a rare public display of emotion with his pursuit of the Hammer stalled.

Bochy said it could be beneficial for Bonds to rest Tuesday night’s game at Wrigley Field as well, but ruled out a possible stint on the disabled list.

“He has a lot of pride,” Bochy said. “He has set the bar so high with what he’s accomplished in his career. Like all of us, he’s not happy with the way things are going here.”

Even Bochy has said that if Bonds is one or two home runs away from the record at the end of a road trip, he might consider sitting the seven-time NL MVP to give him a chance to break the record at home.

“In a perfect scenario, Barry hits it (at home),” Bochy said last week. “I don’t want it to be that I’m challenging the integrity of the game if I sit Barry at the end of a road trip. He’s going to need his time.”

Bonds is no longer addressing the media in the first game at a road city as he did earlier in the year.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella understands Bonds’ need to rest.

“It’s hard. It’s hard for him. I played until I was 41 and I was happy that I didn’t have to put the uniform on to perform,” Piniella said. “It’s not easy, all the wear and tear.”

A service of the Associated Press(AP)