Shin splints keep Bonds out of lineup again
PHOENIX -- Barry Bonds' shins were so swollen in recent days that his socks left a thick imprint in his legs. That's how the slugger chose to describe how much pressure he has been feeling in his legs.
I won't go on the DL. Don't count on seeing me on the DL -- ever. I won't let myself. I will work hard. I will play through it.
-- Barry Bonds
Bonds was held out of San Francisco's starting lineup for the second straight night Wednesday to rest and recover. He entered to pinch hit for Omar Vizquel leading off the ninth to a chorus of boos and walked before being lifted for pinch-runner Dan Ortmeier.
"I won't go on the DL," Bonds said, who has been taking prednisone again lately -- often his practice in the past -- to help lessen the inflammation in his shins. His knees, ankles and feet also have been hurting, and Bonds is wearing compression socks to help matters. "Don't count on seeing me on the DL -- ever. I won't let myself. I will work hard. I will play through it."
He expects to be back in left field and batting cleanup in Thursday night's series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks, resuming his pursuit of Hank Aaron's home run record of 755. Bonds is at 746 and has homered just once in 61 at-bats since connecting May 8.
Bonds received calls from his mother and wife and a message from his grandma Wednesday, all three women wondering what was wrong with him. He said his mom was "screaming at me, 'what the hell's wrong with you? ... You've got to take care of yourself, son.' "
"I feel good, a lot better," Bonds said in a candid interview about his health before heading to the training room for treatment. "Just one more day to get the soreness away, get the soreness out. I've never had it before. It got really swollen really bad. It's gone down. The pain's not as bad. One more day. I don't have a choice, to make sure I don't have any setbacks. I think I should be able to play tomorrow."
Asked whether he could pinch hit, Bonds said: "Definitely. I can always swing a bat."
He has continued working out on his own with personal trainers Greg Oliver and Harvey Shields in the mornings at a Phoenix gym, and they have been helping him with ice, stretching and massage. The two men are no longer allowed in the Giants' clubhouse or in restricted areas of the ballpark as part of the new $15.8 million, one-year contract Bonds signed before spring training. Bonds must now pay the travel expenses for Oliver and Shields, unless they fund trips themselves.
Bonds was somewhat surprised to learn he played in 51 of the Giants' first 56 games, but noted he has been able to appear in more day games following night games at home because Shields is there to rub him down after games and Oliver also helps him get loose.
"I don't like going in the training room," Bonds said. "It's something I'm going to have to do."
Giants athletic trainer Dave Groeschner has recommended to Bonds that he stay around a little longer after games to ice his body. Bonds typically will use the cold bath, but said he is "not a patient person" and doesn't like to wait around for a teammate to get out of the ice tub.
"Obviously, anything we can do to get these guys feeling better and back on the field, that's what we're all here for," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Talking to Groesch, he is encouraged. He feels better. We anticipate him playing tomorrow."
Bonds said his shins began bothering him after playing in a Sunday afternoon game May 27 against the Rockies following a night game. The team then flew to New York to play the Mets, and Bonds was off the first game there.
Then, in a game against the Phillies on Monday, Bonds barely made it to third from first on Ray Durham's fifth-inning double.
"I was sore in New York and it just kept escalating," he said. "I've never had shin problems. It started hurting in my knees. ... I played that day game [against Colorado]. Maybe I shouldn't have. Wednesday night [May 30] when I played it just didn't get any better. When we got to Philly, I tried everything I could."
But Bonds is encouraged he will be himself again soon.
"I feel way different today than I did yesterday. Spending time to work on it makes a huge difference," he said.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press