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Pitchers do a number on Bonds

July 16, 2007|Dylan Hernandez | Times Staff Writer

SAN FRANCISCO — The Dodgers didn't run from Barry Bonds and didn't pay, leaving the likely future home run king so frustrated that he called himself "an embarrassment" at the conclusion of the three-game series.

Bonds was 0 for 5 in the series finale Sunday, leaving him 0 for 12 in the Dodgers' sweep of the Giants and four home runs short of Hank Aaron's all-time record of 755. Bonds, who is batting .279 with 17 home runs, hasn't gone deep in his last 23 at-bats.

"It's an embarrassment for me to be wearing this ... uniform with the way I'm playing," Bonds told reporters. "I'm embarrassed to have this ... uniform the way I'm performing."

The Dodgers walked Bonds twice Friday, once Saturday and no times Sunday.

"With Barry, you've just got to see how he feels," Dodgers catcher Russell Martin said. "We're careful the first couple games, then we go right after him. Barry Bonds, he's human, so he's going to have times he's not swinging the bat too well and pretty much we got lucky."

Bonds struck out three times over the last two games, once each game against reliever Joe Beimel.

"I've watched guys in the past try to pitch around him, and he can sense when somebody's afraid of him," Beimel said. "So I've always tried to go right at him, be aggressive."

That was a lesson closer Takashi Saito learned Saturday. Saito walked Bonds in the ninth inning and Bonds later came home to tie the score.

Sunday, Saito forced Bonds to pop up on the game's last play.

"If you try to avoid something -- and this goes for anything -- you're only punishing yourself," Saito said. "It's when you try to be too careful that something bad happens. You lose your sense of balance when you're conscious of keeping the ball down, keeping the ball down."


Reliever Chin-hui Tsao was put on the 15-day disabled list because of a shoulder strain for the second time this season. Right-hander D.J. Houlton was recalled from triple-A Las Vegas to replace Tsao on the roster.

Tsao complained of pain in the back of his shoulder Saturday after giving up four runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Tsao said he didn't think the pain was related to the shoulder surgery that sidelined him for all of 2006.

"We caught it early," trainer Stan Conte said. "If we keep putting him out there, it will get worse."

Conte said tests revealed that Tsao's shoulder was weak and that the right-hander would need to strengthen it before starting to throw again.

Houlton's call-up came exactly one week from the day he was sent to Las Vegas. Houlton started Thursday for Las Vegas, pitching five scoreless innings.

"I didn't know if you could get called up that quick," Houlton said.


Mark Hendrickson, who pitched two innings in relief Saturday, is still scheduled to start for the Dodgers on Tuesday.... Randy Wolf played catch for the second day, increasing the distance of his tosses from 40 feet to 60 feet. Wolf, who is on the disabled list, said his shoulder felt fine and he expected to throw again today.... Chad Billingsley popped a blister on his middle finger in his final start before the All-Star break but said it hasn't affected him.... Tony Abreu, who pinch-hit in the last two games, said his previously strained abdominal muscle is back to nearly 100%.

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