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Around the Cactus League

San Francisco Giants: A bout with the flu hasn't affected Barry Bonds' swing.

Bonds hit his first home run of spring training, connecting in the fourth inning against Esteban Loaiza on Friday in the San Francisco Giants' 5-3 loss to the Oakland Athletics.

"He's so good. It doesn't take him long to find his stroke," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's a pretty simple stroke. He just needs a few at-bats. That's how good he is. ... I've seen it enough on the other side, it's good to have it on my side."

Bonds was sidelined last weekend by a flu bug that ravaged the Giants. But since returning to the lineup Tuesday, he is 4-for-7 with a homer and two doubles. He said he is mostly over the flu and that his oft-injured knees are feeling pretty good.

After flying out to deep center field in the first inning against Rich Harden, Bonds came to bat in the fourth against Loaiza. After showing bunt on the first pitch and taking the second, Bonds drove the next pitch over the right-field fence and onto an adjacent field.

"I hit it pretty good," Bonds said. "But it's spring training. I don't take spring training seriously besides getting in shape."

Elsewhere in the Cactus League:

Texas Rangers: Sammy Sosa was too focused on his
comeback to get nostalgic about facing the Chicago Cubs.

Plus, the way he's hitting, the former slugger figures to see his old team again in June, when the Cubs visit the Texas Rangers for the first time.

Sosa, 38, in camp with the Rangers on a minor league contract after a year out of baseball, went 2-for-3 with a walk as Texas beat a Chicago split squad 11-9.

Sosa is hitting .500 (9-for-18) with two home runs and four RBIs through six games.

"I know I was playing against them, but I was thinking about a normal game," insisted Sosa, a seven-time All-Star with the Cubs from 1992-2004 and the 1998 NL MVP. "I'm just happy to have an opportunity to have another good game. ... So far, so good."

Kansas City Royals: Zack Greinke is excited just to put on a Royals uniform. Not too long ago, he wasn't sure if he'd ever play again after missing most of last season due to social anxiety.

Greinke made his first start for Kansas City since 2005 and gave up three runs and five hits in three innings as a Royals split squad lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 7-6.

"I like being a Royal now, first time probably ever," Greinke said. "I don't know if it was I didn't like being a Royal. It was more I just didn't like playing. Now, I'm just happy to be where I am."

Greinke thought his career was over after the Royals said he had left spring training camp in February last season due to personal problems. He didn't return to the Royals until September, when he made three relief appearances after spending most of the year as a starter in Double-A Wichita. Greinke is trying to secure one of two spots open in Kansas City's starting rotation this season.

He has said he worked through his issues with a psychologist and that the toughest part now is convincing people he doesn't have a problem anymore.

Meanwhile, reliever Joe Nelson was scheduled to meet with a team doctor Saturday to determine if he needs surgery on his injured right shoulder.

The 32-year-old right-hander missed most of 2002 and all of 2003
after undergoing two major operations. He said he didn't think his
current problem was related to his other operations.

San Diego Padres: Going into his 25th season of pro ball, David Wells has polished his offseason routine.

Hunt. Have some fun. Carry some pounds. Do a little working out, a few weeks of long toss, show up for spring training.

"Is there any other way?" the 43-year-old left-hander said after making his spring debut for his hometown Padres in a 12-4 split-squad loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

"I'm just maybe one of those freaks of nature that I can pull it off," said Wells, who's had an adventuresome career on and off the field. "I'm a freak and I don't need a circus. I am the circus."

Wells, who re-signed with the defending NL West champions in mid-January, threw about 40 pitches over 1 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs and four hits, struck out one and walked none.

"I felt good," said Wells, who broke into the big leagues in 1987 with Toronto. "I didn't labor at all. I'm I'm pretty content with the first outing.''

Seattle Mariners: The Seattle Mariners are 1-8 in spring
training exhibitions, worst in the major leagues. They have lost
six of those games by one run.

But that's not going to make manager Mike Hargrove shy away from
his previous proclamation that the Mariners can win the American
League West.

"I think it's a legitimate goal," he said after the latest
spring loss, 6-5 in 10 innings to the Colorado Rockies.
"It's something we're working on, we've got our eye on. Our
players are really serious about it, and we're going to do
everything we can to make that happen."

Friday was another "what-if" game. The Mariners led 4-3 going
into the top of the ninth before Chris Reitsma, signed to a $2.05
million contract for this season to be the primary setup man to
closer J.J. Putz, surrendered a pair of solo homers. After tying
the game in the bottom half, Seattle had a runner on first with one
out but could not get him across.

The Rockies won it in the 10th.

"We're playing good baseball, we really are," Hargrove said,
repeating what he's been saying for a week -- that he likes his
regular hitters' at-bats and the work of his revamped starting
rotation. "The breaks just haven't come our way. ..If it's our lot
to lose a lot of one-run games down here this spring, I'd rather do
that down here than in the season."

Chicago White Sox: Jon Garland's arm feels the same way it did
last spring -- and that's not good.

After his second subpar outing in three spring training starts, the White Sox right-hander said Friday he has a "knot" in his right shoulder. He said it doesn't hurt but it makes it difficult to throw the ball where he wants to.

"I kind of have that same feeling that I did towards the end of spring last year," Garland said after the White Sox lost 4-2 to the Arizona Diamondbacks. "It just feels tight. Last year somehow it worked its way out, and hopefully it works its way out this year."

Garland gave up four runs and eight hits -- including two homers -- in three innings. He walked one and struck out three.

Milwaukee Brewers: Prince Fielder continues to put the Brewers at ease.

Fielder went 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI in his second game back after missing the first nine of spring training because of a right quadriceps strain.

In his spring debut Thursday, Fielder hit a home run.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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