Sunday, January 22, 2006

Slim-Downed Bonds Withdraws From Games

San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds -- who needs seven homers to pass Babe Ruth's 714-mark -- played in the 20th Annual Juan Marichal Golf Classic in the Dominican Republic over the weekend and appeared older but trim at his supposedly new 195-pound fighting weight. Some observers thought he looked "as big as ever" but others noted he was wearing a cap that formerly belonged to ex-batboy Darren Baker. Playing golf, Bonds did not seem to favor his surgically repaired right knee. But shortly after the golf outing, in which he rode a cart, he announced he would withdraw from the World Baseball Classic Games in March to save his strength. Whether his weight remains an issue is uncertain. Bonds did, however, look somewhat undersized in baggy clothes. Some have speculated he'll suffer a decline in power because his self-proclaimed weight loss translates into muscle loss. No matter what size he is, however, he has warned Giants manager Felipe Alou that he has no intention of batting second this year, as Alou has suggested to get him extra ABs. Each spot moved up in the batting order is worth an average additional 17 ABs a year.