Bonds one walk away from MLB record

Sunday, July 4th 2004, 11:37 am
By: News On 6

Barry Bonds on Saturday moved within 90 feet of another major league record when he was walked twice -- once intentionally -- by the A's.

That gives Bonds 2,189 career walks, one shy of Rickey Henderson's record. The mark figures to fall today -- Bonds has been walked three times in the past two games and has drawn 119 walks in 71 games this season.

''It's a big accomplishment,'' Manager Felipe Alou said. ''You've got to be a great player and you've got to be a healthy player.''

Bonds' walk totals took a huge spike in 2001 (the year he set the season home run record), and he set the season record with 198 walks in 2002. He is on pace to walk 238 times this season.

Right-handed reliever Felix Rodriguez is losing the grip on his role as the Giants' eighth-inning specialist.

Thursday at Los Angeles, Rodriguez allowed an inherited runner to score the tying run, then yielded the winning RBI single. Saturday, Rodriguez allowed the tying run against the A's in the eighth inning, retiring only two of the four batters he faced.

''I see velocity without life,'' Alou said. If the SBC Park radar ''gun is right, you see 97, 98, 96'' mph, ''but I still see the bats catching up with it. Usually bats don't catch up to that sort of velocity.''

Rodriguez attributed his struggles to poor luck. Both hits he gave up Saturday nearly were caught -- although they required diving attempts by outfielders Marquis Grissom and Michael Tucker to make the plays close.

''Sometimes you make good pitches and they hit them,'' Rodriguez said. ''All I can do is pitch.''

Alou said he wouldn't be surprised if the division-leading Giants have only two players on the National League All-Star team. The starters (as voted by the fans), reserves and pitchers will be announced today during a selection show on ESPN, which begins at 4p.m.

Bonds is the league's top vote-getter, and Jason Schmidt is a shoo-in to be named to the pitching staff.

''You have high-profile players like we do on this team, the habit is to not look at anybody else on the team,'' Alou said. When asked if the Giants deserve more than two, he added, ''I don't think so. We are more than anything else a team-oriented type of group here.''

After the game, right-hander David Aardsma was called up from Triple-A Fresno. Left-hander Noah Lowry was optioned to Fresno.