Bonds' rehab on time despite reported setback

Updated: February 26, 2005, 6:21 PM ET news services

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Barry Bonds took a few swings in the batting cage at the San Francisco Giants' training complex Saturday, facing live pitching earlier than the club expected.

Barry Bonds
Left Field
San Francisco Giants
147 45 101 129 6 .362

Bonds, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Jan. 31, took his first cuts of spring training against hitting coach Joe Lefebvre, who threw slower than batting-practice speed. The seven-time NL MVP decided against the club's plan to hit the ball off a tee, preferring to face real pitching.

"I knew he wasn't going to wait that long," Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "I knew the guy was going to be swinging the bat sooner than expected."

The slugger also played soft-toss in the outfield for the second straight day, keeping his rehabilitation ahead of schedule.

However, Bonds told on Friday that he'd set his rehab back nearly three weeks by suffering a post-surgery fall that required fluid to be drained from his knee.

In his press conference last Tuesday, Bonds mentioned a "little bit of a setback" and only Friday revealed he'd severely tweaked his knee days after surgery. He told he had to have the stitches resewn on the inside of his knee.

"It was the stupidest thing," Bonds told the Web site. "I went to sit down and fell and bent my whole knee. It happened to be the day after or the second day after the surgery.

"I accidentally bent my leg all the way back and that's how it started. I couldn't believe it because I don't usually fall down that much. I do it more on the baseball field than I do in everyday life."

After Bonds underwent surgery, trainer Stan Conte said Bonds should be able to return for the final two weeks of spring training. The Giants haven't moved up that timetable yet, but Bonds usually is a quick healer.

The 40-year-old Bonds is third on the majors' career homers list with 703, trailing only Babe Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755). He won his seventh MVP award last season with 45 homers, 101 RBI and a major league-record 232 walks.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.