Estrada Talks Smack About Bonds


Posted Apr 18, 2006


Somewhere along the line we fell into upsidedown land, because the Diamondbacks, who led the Majors in batting average and runs scored during the spring, but couldn't get a solid pitching performance to save their lives, have suddenly forgotten how to hit, and are getting some of the best pitching in the league.

"I don't think he puts the same fear into you that he used to," catcher
Johnny Estrada said. "I don't think guys are afraid to pitch to him. He's
not hot right now, either. But when he gets hot, he's that type of guy."
   Manager Bob Melvin will have the say so as to how Arizona pitches Bonds,
who trails Ruth by six on the all-time homer list. It will depend upon game
situations and who's on the mound, but "if he's a guy we feel we need to go
after, we'll go after him," Melvin said.
   Estrada, outspoken about Bonds during an interview on Sunday, said he has
never been a fan of the Giants slugger and added that allegations of steroid
use and now, an investigation by Major League Baseball, have made most
baseball fans tire of the whole ordeal.
   "With all this off-the-field stuff going on and him being on the front
page of the paper every day about being investigated and this and that,"
Estrada said, "I truly think the fans don't want to see him break the record
-- Ruth's or (Hank) Aaron's. Giants fans still got his back, but I think
most fans are sick of him."
   Estrada, who said he's never had a conversation with Bonds, thinks this
could be one of the last times he's ever on the same field with the
superstar.
   "He's probably reached his boiling point," Estrada said. "He's not going
to escape the federal government if they try to investigate him. If he wants
to expend the energy to go through all that and still try to compete at a
high level ... I mean, he's shown he could do it before. But at his age and
the way things are going, I'd be surprised."
   REPLAY: Although Arizona pitchers Orlando Hernandez and Jason Grimsley
were partial culprits for the Astros striking for a season-high seven runs
in the sixth inning Sunday, it was the Diamondbacks' languishing offense
that deserves equal blame for an 8-5 loss that left Arizona 2-4 after six
games of a 10-game homestand.
   The Diamondbacks were leading 2-1 in the fifth and with runners at first
and second, and they had the heart of their batting order due up. But Chad
Tracy struck out, and after Luis Gonzalez drew a walk to load the bases,
Conor Jackson flied out to right to end any chance of a potential big
inning.
   Arizona is hitting only .232 as a team.

NOTES, QUOTES
   --LF Luis Gonzalez snapped an 0-for-11 skid with a solo home run Sunday
against Houston. Gonzalez previously hadn't had a hit since stroking a
double Wednesday against Colorado, which left him one double short of
becoming the 21st player in history to have 500 doubles and 300 home runs.
   "I want to get it over with because the fans are coming to the park
wanting to see it happen and I want to get it done, too," Gonzalez said.
"I've got 150 games, and I know I'm going to get a double somewhere. I'm
hoping to get it here at home."
   --RHP Orlando Hernandez hit a single in the fifth inning Sunday against
Houston, snapping an 0-for-22 drought by Diamondbacks pitchers.
   --Due to a scoring change following Saturday's 10-0 loss to Houston, the
Diamondbacks are now credited with three hits in their first shutout loss of
the season. A third-inning ball hit by SS Damion Easley, originally scored
as an error on the Astros' Preston Wilson and later changed to an error on
Willy Taveras, now goes down as a triple for Easley, who had two of the
three hits in the game.
   --RHP Jason Grimsley allowed a first-pitch, two-run single to Lance
Berkman during a seven-run inning for Houston in the sixth Sunday, snapping
a streak by the Arizona bullpen of having stranded all 10 previous inherited
runners this season. As a group, the bullpen has retired the first batter
faced in 27 of 31 appearances in '06.
   --Julia Ruth Stevens, the daughter of Babe Ruth, threw out Sunday's
ceremonial first pitch, a day before Barry Bonds and the Giants visit Chase
Field. Asked if anything would change in how her father might be remembered
should Bonds surpass Ruth's 714 career homers, Ruth Stevens, 88, said, "Oh,
no. He was one of a kind, and there will never be another one like him."
Ruth Stevens, who lives in Sun City, Ariz., lists her two favorite teams as
the Diamondbacks and the Boston Red Sox.
   BY THE NUMBERS: 7 -- Number of games out of the Diamondbacks' first 10
that were decided by two runs or less. They were 2-5 in those games.
   QUOTE TO NOTE: "Things will even out and I think, 1-8, we'll be tough
at-bats this year. We're just not showing it right now." -- Manager Bob
Melvin on the club's .231 batting average after its first nine games of the
season.


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