Bonds may get at-bats in No. 3 hole

Updated: April 2, 2004, 12:03 AM ET
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds doesn't seem too concerned about his beat-up teammates as the season opener approaches.

"Baseball's always been 162 days," Bonds, back home in his own ballpark, said Thursday while joking around for the TV cameras. "You get through them."

Closer Robb Nen, ace Jason Schmidt and reliever Scott Eyre all will start the year on the disabled list.

But Bonds, who is two home runs shy of tying godfather Willie Mays for third place on the all-time list with 660, feels healthy at age 39.

"I feel great. I really do," the six-time NL Most Valuable Player said. "Except the ground is hard here."

While Bonds will start the season batting cleanup as usual, manager Felipe Alou has said he might experiment with him in the No. 3 hole.

"It depends who's hot and who's not," Bonds said. "If a guy is not swinging the bat well, I might move up."

Bonds spent two stints on the bereavement list last season dealing with the death of his father, Bobby. He played in 130 games, batting .341 with 45 home runs and 90 RBI.

Does the slugger plan to play more games in 2004?

"You just play as many games as you can," he said. "Last year was a different situation for me because of personal things."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press