Barry Bonds put on a batting-practice show Friday, hitting some long home runs that impressed observers - even if they did come off a 50-year old coach.
Bonds took batting practice for a third straight day in a positive sign for the San Francisco Giants, who are counting on him being fully recovered from three operations last year on his right knee.
He hit eight homers off first-base coach Luis Pujols, who threw from well in front of the mound. One shot went over the pavilion in rightfield and might have traveled close to 500 feet.
"He looks good, fresh," manager Felipe Alou said. "If you don't have any bat speed it's hard to catch up with what Pujols throws from such a short range."
It's unknown how Bonds feels about his progress since he told media members he would not conduct interviews until they signed a release waiver allowing footage of them to be shown on his upcoming reality TV show on ESPN.
"We asked to see a copy of the release," said Rich Levin, a spokesman for baseball commissioner Bud Selig. "We want to know more about it."
ASTROS: Jeff Bagwell arrived at camp, his future still uncertain because the team filed an insurance claim stating that he's too hurt to play. "This is what I do, this is who I am," he said. "I can't just go away. That's not in my nature." Bagwell had surgery in June on his right shoulder, and the Astros want to recoup about $15.6-million of the $17-million he is guaranteed this season.
CUBS: Mark Prior and Kerry Wood had their first appearances throwing off a mound. Wood is recovering from arthroscopic shoulder surgery on Aug. 31, and the Cubs are going slowly with Prior in an attempt to avoid elbow problems that bothered him the previous two springs.
DODGERS: Bill Lajoie was hired as senior adviser to the general manager and Phil Rizzo was hired as a major-league scout.
RED SOX: Pitching coach Dave Wallace, 58, is expected to miss several months after right hip surgery, made necessary by an infection. Wallace was in stable condition after the operation Thursday in Boston. Bullpen coach Al Nipper is filling in.
WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC: The Dominican Republic expects Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa to play in next month's tournament despite signs the stars might sit it out. The outfielders were included on the nation's preliminary 37-man roster. Unable to work out a deal with unionized major league umpires, tournament organizers announced crews that lean heavily on minor-league umpires.
MAYS APPEARANCE: Willie Mays presented a $50,000 check to repair the baseball field at Davie Western High, which was damaged by Hurricane Wilma. The money was donated by a corporation and a relief fund.