Bonds stuck at 753

By Janie McCauley

SAN FRANCISCO – Barry Bonds doesn’t think he’s overswinging as he approaches Hank Aaron’s home run record.

“I’ve just got to take myself back a little bit,” he said Thursday before his San Francisco Giants played the finale of a four-game series against the Atlanta Braves.

“It’s hard to explain what’s going on inside right now. I can’t explain it. It’s a little more complicated than that. There’s too many things in your head to just narrow it down to one thing, one statement.”

The 43-year-old Bonds was in the starting lineup and batting cleanup after getting the night off for Wednesday’s 2-1 victory – which followed a 13-inning contest a night earlier. He went 1-for-4 with a double before leaving for a pinch runner in the seventh inning and remained stuck on 753 home runs, two from tying the Hammer’s mark of 755.

Bonds got his pregame work in, too. He pulled his hat on backward and served as the pitcher for the family softball game. His 8-year-old daughter swung successfully from both sides of the plate.

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    That was after Bonds pulled out the dangling right front tooth of 6-year-old Cole Roberts, the son of center fielder Dave Roberts.

    “Barry pulled my tooth,” the boy told everybody, holding the tooth in his hand, showing off the new window in his mouth and saying it hurt a little bit. “The tooth fairy brought me five dollars when I lost the other one three days ago.”

    Bonds is 3-for-18 since hitting home runs No. 752 and 753 against the Cubs at Wrigley Field last Thursday, raising his season total to 19. That was after he didn’t start the first three games of the series to rest his sore legs. Since hitting a single at Cincinnati on July 5, he is 6-for-42 (.143).

    Bonds said he has been alternating between the same two bat models he has been using all season.

    “Sometimes it’s accidental,” he said. “Sometimes I grab one thinking it’s the other. They look the same. I just grab one.”

    As much as the Giants would love for Bonds to become the new home run king in the friendly confines of San Francisco’s waterfront ballpark, Bonds wouldn’t say whether he would prefer to do it at home.

    Bonds hit Nos. 500, 600 and 700 along with 660 and 661 to tie and pass his godfather, Hall of Famer Willie Mays, at home and also 715 last May 28 to pass Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. He hit No. 714 to tie the Babe across San Francisco Bay in Oakland.

    In 2001, Bonds hit the final three of his 73 homers at home to break Mark McGwire’s season record of 70.

    “I can’t answer that,” Bonds said of doing it at home. “Are you saying I’m not going to try on the road – that I only try at home? I’m just trying to get a damn hit, more than one.”

    Meanwhile, ESPN added the Giants’ home games Friday and Saturday against the Florida Marlins to the network’s schedule. ESPN also will provide live cut-ins or short turnaround highlights of Bonds’ at-bats during all Major League Baseball programming.