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Barry Bonds took batting practice yesterday — he can still rake

Mar 17, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 10.57.59 AM AP

Look, you can say you’d prefer Michael Morse to be your starting left fielder, Bruce Bochy. And maybe that’s how it’s gotta be. But it’s not like you don’t have options:

With the Giants’ longtime left-handed batting practice specialist “Cutter John” Yandle on the mound, Bonds had an extended hitting session out of view of observers on the back field at Scottsdale Stadium.

According to Yandle, Bonds hit rope after rope and on his last few swings unloaded some massive blasts into the adjoining neighborhood.

“He looked better than he did before,” Yandle said. “He’s still got the swing down.”

Bonds says he can’t run anymore. But he can hit. Again, that’s one notch above a lot of guys who will play DH and play left field this year.

  1. shaggylocks - Mar 17, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    Eat your heart out, Canseco.

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 17, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    Funny, the team could shoot his knees full of Lidocaine and nobody would bat an eyelash. A “Street King” energy drink would probably have him suspended for life.

    • fanofthegame79 - Mar 17, 2014 at 4:13 PM

      This is what I don’t get… If a player is hurt, he is able to take drugs (like Lidocaine), and suddenly the injury is neutralized. That seems like that’s performance enhancing to me… It’s not natural as the player was able to circumvent their injury to perform.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Mar 17, 2014 at 4:22 PM

        Lidocaine, heck a pitcher can get a dead guy’s knee ligament put in his elbow. If that is not ‘performance enhancing’ I don’t know what is.

        Gatorade enhances performance. Air conditioning enhances performance. I know there are lines drawn based on perceived health risks, but really a lot of this is arbitrary.

      • akehres11 - Mar 17, 2014 at 11:19 PM

        “Lidocaine, heck a pitcher can get a dead guy’s knee ligament put in his elbow. If that is not ‘performance enhancing’ I don’t know what is.”

        Using a dead persons ligament, or a cadaver, is a common medical practice when repairing a torn ligament. Cadavers are also used in knee surgeries and probably every other ligament surgery.

  3. happytwinsfan - Mar 17, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    wasn’t it just last year that there was talk of clemens possibly pitching a few games for the astros because he could still throw in the high eighties. clemens and bonds are well into their forties, have been retired for years, and presumably haven’t been taking PEDs during those years, but still have near major league athletic ability. this makes me wonder if whatever PEDs they took really had that much impact.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 17, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      If an AL team signed him for like $1M as a DH, and told him that he wasn’t to run under any circumstances, I wonder what kind of batting line he’d have to put up to be a net positive?

      • larrymahnken - Mar 17, 2014 at 11:55 AM

        Probably about the same as the batting line he’d put up.

      • chew1985 - Mar 17, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        One of hose AL teams should have done that when he was unceremoniously “retired” a few years ago by the Giants but he was blacklisted big time. He could have DH’d someone to a pennant a time or two in the AL And he probably even could now.

        Notice he did that batting practice display with NO steroids for years now. He was THAT GOOD and every sports “journalist” knows it.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:45 PM

        One of hose AL teams should have done that when he was unceremoniously “retired” a few years ago by the Giants but he was blacklisted big time. He could have DH’d someone to a pennant a time or two in the AL And he probably even could now.

        Bonds last year was ’07, he put up a .276/.480(!)/.565 for a 169 OPS+, with 28 HR

        The Yanks OF/DH contingent put up:

        Nady – 105 OPS+
        Abreu – 120 OPS+
        Matsui – 108 OPS+
        Cabrera – 68 OPS+
        Damon – 118 OPS+

        Nah, he wouldn’t have been an upgrade at all in ’08…

      • clemente2 - Mar 17, 2014 at 5:02 PM

        And Tampa could possibly have a WS ring if it had Bonds at DH

    • stoutfiles - Mar 17, 2014 at 12:41 PM

      PEDs aren’t all about power. They help your muscles recover quickly too. The season is long and grueling, a normal person breaks down but a PED user can go out there fresh every night and hit 73 homers.

      • paperlions - Mar 17, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        Exactly, that is why everyone of the 1000s of guys that used steroids in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s had 73 HR seasons. They are magical.

      • stoutfiles - Mar 17, 2014 at 3:44 PM

        I suppose I should have said a PED user could hit X number of homeruns beyond his normal max. Also, the PEDs are better than they used to be. Also, certain people (Bonds) look like they had 3 square meals of PEDs per day.

        This is a Bonds article so I presented a Bonds statistic. I’m sorry if I suggested that every PED user would get extra power/recovery plus the talent level of Bonds.

    • vivabear - Mar 17, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      Come on, batting practice isn’t really an indiation if someone has the ability to hit actual MLB pitching.

  4. infieldhit - Mar 17, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    When did “rake” become all the rage? And is it really raking when it’s batting practice?

    • scatterbrian - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:17 PM

      Years ago. Supposedly first used in a Pawtucket game story in 2006.

      • georgebrett - Mar 19, 2014 at 1:14 PM

        Rake has been around as long as I can remember and that about 1980ish.

    • sportsfan18 - Mar 17, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      Rake is old news now… it WAS the rage yrs ago…

  5. fleaman1381 - Mar 17, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    I think the impact of PEDs is more along the lines of recovery. These guys already have the ability to be this big/strong/fast, hit the ball a mile, and throw it 100 mph. But without the PEDs, could Bonds hit the same way the next day at his age? Or every day for a week? Probably not.

    • dluxxx - Mar 17, 2014 at 12:45 PM

      Probably if he was taking greenies for that little extra “pep in his step.”

      • fleaman1381 - Mar 17, 2014 at 7:17 PM

        Maybe I should amend that to “without illegal supplements.” I’m no expert, but I lump greenies in with PED… is this wrong (serious question, not trying to be a jerk)? I don’t know, I’m in my early 30s and have exercised regularly since high school. I feel it walking to the second floor of my office building in the morning. I couldn’t imagine being older and working as hard as pro athletes.

    • Francisco (FC) - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      You mean like when Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Pete Rose took greenies so they could play long seasons and step up to the plate everyday?

  6. thebadguyswon - Mar 17, 2014 at 12:35 PM

    Shocker. A Hall of Famer still has Hall of Fame ability in his late 40s.

  7. sfm073 - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    Jeez it was batting practice people. You know the thing where the balls are thrown right down the middle at 60mph?

    • bgrillz - Mar 17, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      He hasn’t played baseball since when, 2007? You get into the cage after having a summer off and things don’t always go great. Dude picks up a bat at age 49 after 7 years away, and hitting bombs, you’re pretty good at what you do.

      • vivabear - Mar 17, 2014 at 2:44 PM

        It’s entirely possible he hits from time to time, maybe even has a cage and machine at his house. So it doesn’t surpise me he was squaring up ball off BP pitches. Granted, it’s impressive he was going yard. But this doesn’t mean he still could be a productive MLB hitter.

      • jwbiii - Mar 17, 2014 at 6:02 PM

        Tennis court, basketball goal, pool, no outdoor batting cage. The garage is big enough that he could have one in there.

      • xenozfan2 - Mar 18, 2014 at 11:24 AM

        Julio Franco was 48 when he hit his last homerun. I’m sure Barry could hit a couple.

  8. flash8910 - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    This is the sad thing about Barry Bonds. He has all the talent in the world. Without PED’s, he still easily would have been a HOF and one of the best. However, something drove him to want to be THE BEST, and the PED’s made him lose credibility, and he may never be in the HOF.

    • ptfu - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:44 PM

      It is sad. It is also a function of the HOF voters, as well as the choices Bonds himself made.

  9. mikhelb - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    And Jackson Melian could hit the ball 500 ft. to dead center field in Yankee Stadium II at age 17 when he had batting practice sessions for the Yankees a bit after he signed with them… and he never reached the majors with them. He now plays in an instructional/development league with the “Strawberry Growers” of San Quintín (a small town located in the county of Ensenada, Baja California) in the Mexican Northern League (the league where the Phillies’ Miguel A. González played last season).

    Though he developed lots of personal problems after his parents died in a car accident when they were driving along the Yankees’ Minor League team bus where Melian was, they attended every single game of their son.

    • asimonetti88 - Mar 17, 2014 at 2:21 PM

      I’m not sure I get the comparison. Melian never had major league ability, Bonds clearly did.

      • ptfu - Mar 17, 2014 at 9:46 PM

        Heh, no kidding. Bonds did a lot of things well, in addition to hitting the ball a mile.

  10. jonathancx525 - Mar 17, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    Bonds is one clutch random playoff appearance from being elected into the HOF. This is strategy guys, all strategy.

  11. musketmaniac - Mar 17, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    some good points on here, Bottom line Mlb robbed Bonds of at least 50 homers.

  12. themonster661 - Mar 17, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    Barry bonds was a HOFer before he knew he was taking the cream. Look at his numbers during the late 80’s and 90’s. There wasnt anyone close to his numbers. Sure the juice helps muscle recovery but it doesn’t help hand and eye coordination with the bat. Bonds should be a HALL OF FAMER. Just with his numbers alone before entering the 2000’s.

  13. packhawk04 - Mar 17, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    This is pretty cool… but its no different than the stories you hear of magic johnson playing with current nba stars in pickup games and owning the court. There was one story just a year or two ago where paul goerge won a 3 point contest on the pacers team and jokingly challenged larry bird, who was watching. Bird didnt take off his suit jacket, or warm up, walked out and drained 50 straight 3 pointers. Its cool to hear about those guys doing so well, but its a pickup game, or just goofing around, or just batting practice. It is what it is.

    • fleaman1381 - Mar 17, 2014 at 7:20 PM

      I agree, it’s practice. I don’t think he could play regularly right now without “flaxseed oil.”

  14. nymets4ever - Mar 17, 2014 at 6:10 PM

    Damn you have a stiffy for this guy don’t you? lol

  15. pillowporkers - Mar 17, 2014 at 7:50 PM

    Some of these comments on here make me wonder. Sure, batting practice where the pitcher is throwing the same fastball pitch, at a slower velocity, and is pitching to let the hitter hit, now all of a sudden, his steroids didn’t even help him, he could still play in the big leagues, and the MLB robbed him of 50+ homers? Come on. Go watch Delmon Young take batting practice. He tears the cover off the ball.

  16. nghtrder169 - Mar 18, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    All time GREAT!!!

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