SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Barry Bonds did most of the talking at his arrival news conference on Monday. But down in the clubhouse, the floor belonged to Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
“I introduced him to the club,” Bochy said. “I told them, 'They’re here for you, these (ex-)players. So don’t be afraid to go talk to them.”
Bonds will do his work on an individual basis, which is how he prefers it. He does not give hitting seminars. The hands-on approach is what works best, as he discovered when he tutored Houston Astros outfielder Dexter Fowler over the winter.
I’ve seen Bonds give hitting lessons to young and less established teammates in the past, and they are intensive sessions. Once he spent nearly an hour with Daniel Ortmeier on the field, slapping him on the shoulder to emphasize the importance of keeping a strong front side.
He’ll come early, work in the cage, watch batting practice and he’s welcome to go down the street to minor league camp, if he wants. Bochy said Bonds has free run of the complex while he’s here.
[BAGGARLY: Bonds offers much to Giants, but not contrition]
Several players chatted up Bonds by the cage in between rounds of batting practice, including Buster Posey.
Bonds was supremely confident as a player. He enters with much more humility as a coach.
“Not everybody is suited for the job and maybe I’m not either,” Bonds said. “I don’t know if I am. I have seven days to find out if I am. I’ll take what’s in front of me. I don’t have one philosophy, I don’t have one strategy. Every person is built different. Every hitter is different.”
And yet … “I have to learn them. But that will never take me longer than a minute. All we have to do is go in the batting cage and I’ll tell you everything that is going on very fast.”
There are only three current Giants who played with Bonds, and they’re all pitchers: Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong.
Cain said he would encourage teammates to seek out Bonds’ input and counsel. When he was a young pitcher, Cain said he happened to grab the aisle next to Bonds on the team plane more than a few times and they struck up some meaningful conversations.
“He’s such a huge figure in baseball and yeah, it is a little nerve racking, intimidating to talk to him at first,” Cain said. “But he’s very open.”
Maybe now that Bonds has run the media gauntlet, there will be more time for those conversations. But Monday’s arrival had a familiar feel for Cain.
“It just became a zoo like normal,” Cain said. “Same as before. If you want to get some TV time, go near him.”
NOTES: Michael Morse (calf) and Hunter Pence (shoulder) returned to the lineup in a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs, but Tyler Colvin’s back has held him out of action the past few days and minor league third baseman Adam Duvall is sidelined with a hamstring injury. The Giants hope Colvin can get back on the field within a couple days; he had a deal with the Baltimore Orioles rescinded last month when his back failed a physical … The Giants botched a double play in the Cubs’ two-run seventh inning by committing two errors. Shortstop Brandon Crawford’s feed was off line and second baseman Tony Abreu threw wildly to first base. “That’s what cost us the game,” Bochy said. “The double-play ball can be your best friend, but it’s your worst enemy if you don’t turn it.” It was a rough day all around for Crawford, who was 0 for 3 and is hitting .100 (2 for 20) this spring. … Left-hander David Huff, who was set back by a sore shoulder, made his spring debut and lost any chance at a combined perfect game by allowing a run on two hits and a wild pitch in the sixth. … Pablo Sandoval was 2 for 3 and hit a two-run single, boosting his spring average to .381. … Cubs outfielder Nate Schierholtz wasn’t the only familiar face on the Cubs’ travel roster. The Giants’ 2009 no-hitter battery of Eli Whiteside and Jonathan Sanchez both made the trip, too. Sanchez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to record his second save of the season. Sanchez told me he wears his 2010 World Series ring, but only on special occasions. “I’m not like Pablo,” Sanchez joked. “He wears it to the club. I’m not like that.”