Notes: Bonds makes Fenway debut

Notes: Bonds makes Fenway debut

BOSTON -- Barry Bonds emerged from the visitors' dugout at Fenway Park on Friday afternoon and heard cheers.

He turned and looked at the small pregame gathering of fans, mostly young, mostly wearing Giants gear, who jostled each other to get a look at the man who is nine homers from becoming the new home run king. He grinned and stared, striding slowly through a horde of media to the grass in foul territory, where his teammates were stretching.

The boos would come during batting practice. During one turn, Bonds lofted three straight pitches into the top of the cage behind home plate or the pitcher's net.

On his fourth swing, he hammered a ball high and deep to the opposite field, apparently fulfilling his goal of the minute: to hit a shot over the Green Monster. The ball ricocheted off the label of the giant Coke bottle and back onto the field, setting off a smattering of boos and amused applause.

"I'm not right-handed, so I've never had that feeling," said Bonds, when asked earlier if he'd thought about tagging the Monster seats. "[I] never had that thought before."

His answer to the question underscored two things: handedness never kept Bonds from achieving anything he wanted, but, more importantly, that one of baseball's most complicated figures hasn't shied away much from contradiction.

Bonds politely engaged the Boston media contingent, speaking eagerly about Interleague Play, the city of Boston -- "It's pretty," he said -- and Fenway Park, which he had never before seen, except on television.

"They said the park looks smaller [in person]," Bonds said. "This looks bigger than Houston, it looks bigger than Philly. Their right field is a long way."

Interleague Play, he said, "brings excitement."

"When would I have ever come here to see a game or anything?" he said. "Probably never, unless I was playing in one, so this is great."

Early night for Papi: After striking out in the first inning, David Ortiz was ejected after throwing his helmet and bat to the ground.

With the count 2-2, Giants southpaw Barry Zito caught Ortiz looking on a pitch the slugger thought was a ball. After briefly arguing with home-plate umpire Tony Randazzo, Ortiz slowly walked back to the bench. As he neared the dugout, Ortiz slammed his bat and helmet to the ground, and Randazzo quickly ejected the Boston slugger.

Manager Terry Francona quickly jumped off the bench to protest, but Ortiz's night was over after one at-bat.

No set strategy: Francona said before the game that the team's willingness to pitch to Bonds will depend on the situation.

In Bonds' first at-bat, he roped what appeared to be a two-run homer to right field, but the ball landed to the right of Pesky's Pole.

Francona's club has traditionally been one of the Majors' most reluctant teams to issue free passes. This year, Boston ranks last in baseball with just six intentional walks.

"Sometimes you have to get good hitters out," Francona said. "[At the] same time, I'm not sure we'd want him to beat us if we can help it. So we try to use common sense."

Crisp struggles: Red Sox outfielder Coco Crisp put in some extra work before the game with hitting coach Dave Magadan. The center fielder has been looking to eliminate unnecessary "movement" from his stance and stand taller in the batter's box, Francona said.

Crisp has just five hits in the last week, all singles, and his batting average has dropped to .223.

"When Coco's good, he hits anybody's fastball," Francona said. "We just have to get him back to that point. And he's out there today trying to do that."

No lineup change: The Red Sox started the same lineup, featuring right fielder J.D. Drew in the leadoff spot, for the second straight day.

Francona acknowledged the value of starting consistent lineups -- the Red Sox had previously used three different ones in consecutive days -- and said he had felt "comfortable" with Thursday night's batting order, despite another night of offensive struggles.

Don't count on it staying in place for long. The Red Sox travel to Atlanta and San Diego next week for six straight games without a designated hitter.

"I think there's a notion in stability in your ballclub," Francona said. "But with Interleague [Play], you can't [have it]. If they change the rules, we'll do it. If they give us the DH, I promise I'll send the same lineup out three days in a row. But since they're not doing it, we can't."

Honoring Whiteside: Before Friday's game, the Red Sox honored longtime Boston Globe baseball writer Larry Whiteside with a moment of silence.

Whiteside died on Friday after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 69 years old.

"For more than 30 years, Mr. Whiteside covered baseball and the Red Sox for The Boston Globe with integrity, professionalism and excellence," the Red Sox said in a statement. "He was held in high regard and greatly respected by front office executives, managers, coaches and players alike."

On deck: Daisuke Matsuzaka will battle Matt Cain and the Giants in a Saturday afternoon tilt on FOX. The game will begin at 3:55 p.m. ET.

Alex McPhillips is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.