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Coach in camp after losing eye

KISSIMMEE — Braves minor-league manager Luis Salazar returned to camp Wednesday, two weeks after being struck in the face by a foul ball and losing his left eye.

"I'm very fortunate to be alive," Salazar said. "God gave me a second chance in this life, and I'm going to take advantage of it."

He hopes to join his Class A Lynchburg team in April near the start of the Carolina League season.

Salazar was standing on the top step of the dugout when he was struck by Brian McCann's line drive during the first inning against the Cardinals on March 9. He was knocked unconscious and airlifted to the hospital.

Doctors could not save Salazar's eye and removed it March 15. After a week in an Orlando hospital, he spent a week at his home in Boca Raton.

"I feel really good and this is a big day for me," Salazar said after meeting with players and staff. "I shook hands with all my friends."

McCann visited Salazar several times after the injury.

"Brian McCann is a very sensitive kid and he was worried about my health," Salazar said. "We talked for about three hours. I told him what happened could happen to anybody. I told him move on and forget the incident."

Salazar, 54, said he's probably two to three weeks away from resume his minor-league duties.

Friend implicates Bonds

SAN FRANCISCO — A childhood friend and former business partner of Barry Bonds told a jury that he saw baseball's biggest star walk into the master bedroom at his spring training home with trainer Greg Anderson, who had a syringe with a needle.

Steve Hoskins testified in federal court that he never saw Anderson inject Bonds. The question for the jury will be whether Hoskins' description, which the defense began to challenge later in the day, is a path toward convicting Bonds of lying when he told a grand jury seven years ago he never knowingly took steroids.

The home-run king faces four counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction.

Hoskins said he witnessed scenes of Bonds and a needle-bearing Anderson entering a bedroom once or twice each spring for three straight years starting in 2000.

A partner with Bonds in a memorabilia business, Hoskins said the seven-time MVP asked him to inquire about the effects of the steroid Winstrol in 1999, around the time Bonds was having left elbow surgery April 20. Hoskins said he went to Dr. Arthur Ting, who is expected to testify later, and brought a sheet of information to Bonds.

Defense lawyer Allen Ruby went after Hoskins' credibility, suggesting he was trying to extort money from Bonds and noting inconsistencies in the timeline.

SHOWALTER ON FIRE: Orioles manager Buck Showalter took some shots at the Red Sox while praising the Rays, kind of, in the April issue of Men's Journal magazine. Talking about Boston, Showalter said, "I'd like to see how smart Theo Epstein is with the Tampa Bay payroll. You got Carl Crawford 'cause you paid more than anyone else, and that's what makes you smarter? That's why I like whipping their butt. It's great, knowing those guys with the $205 million payroll are saying, 'How the hell are they beating us?' "

GIANTS: Closer Brian Wilson, out since straining his left oblique a week ago, had his throwing session cut short, putting his availability for opening day in doubt.

METS: Brad Emaus, a Rule 5 pick from the Blue Jays, appears to be the frontrunner at second base after Justin Turner was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo. … Former Rays right-hander Jason Isringhausen threw a bullpen session after being sidelined with inflammation in his right elbow.

NATIONALS: Top outfield prospect Bryce Harper said his left ankle is improving and he hopes to get back on the field by Friday. … Left-hander Oliver Perez agreed to a minor-league deal two days after being released by the Mets.

RANGERS: Right-hander Brandon Webb was scratched from a scheduled bullpen session because he was unable to get loosened up to pitch.

Coach in camp after losing eye 03/23/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 24, 2011 12:11am]

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