Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

Bonds feels right at home

- By Craig Davis Staff writer

SAN FRANCISCO — Barry Bonds had a look of apprehensi­on as the Bay Area media converged in the visitors’ dugout Friday before his first game at AT&T Park in a strange uniform.

Relief settled in as the questionin­g mainly centered on comfortabl­e issues of his feelings about being back in the ballpark that was his playpen for the final eight of 15 years with the Giants and his new life as the Miami Marlins’ hitting coach.

The one time Bonds bristled was when a local writer he’d clashed with in the past asked if it seemed odd his name is not already on the Giants Wall of Fame?

“Why do you always ask controvers­ial questions?” Bonds snapped. “Ask the Giants. You’re asking me that question. You need to ask them. I don’t make those decisions.”

There was speculatio­n that omission might be corrected during this threegame weekend visit with the Marlins. Bonds said he discussed the topic with Giants CEO Larry Baer and preferred to wait for a time when he wasn’t representi­ng an opposing team.

“My boss is Jeffrey [Loria] now. I want to respect him and I want to respect the Marlins,” Bonds said. “If the Giants want to do something at a later date with me in the right uniform, I think that’s more appropriat­e.”

Bonds, who had an uneasy and at times adversaria­l relationsh­ip with the media as a player, said he is enjoying the give and take as a coach.

“I’m liking it. I should have done this a long time ago.”

“Done what,” said a San Francisco reporter, “be nice?”

“Well, you guys have been nicer. I’m the same,” Bonds said. “You guys have been nicer, and I appreciate that.”

So, some old friction remains in the air by the bay. Bonds was expecting a warmer embrace from the home crowd, which he said he regarded not as fans but as family.

There were some jerseys with “Bonds” and “25” on the back as that family of fans filed in for the series opener.

“It’s like a childhood dream,” he said, reflecting on his years with the Giants. “When I was a little boy I wanted to be in the outfield with Willie Mays and my dad and be a Giant, and I had that opportunit­y. So when I was in left field in San Francisco I played with the ghosts, I got to play against my idols from my entire life.”

There was curiosity about how he was adjusting to working with players who are unable to do the things that came so easily for him.

“At first in spring training there was the emotion because I’m used to being on the field,” he said. “Being in the dugout watching, biting my lip and going, ‘Ooh, I wish I could do this.’ You have to take a step back and realize that your job is different. You can’t be a player any more.”

Marlins manager Don Mattingly said, “I thought he did a really nice job in spring training of not being overbearin­g, allowing guys to work, building relationsh­ips before you start trying to tell guys what they’re doing. … Obviously, Barry is a big personalit­y and a guy that’s good for our young players, I think. He’s got instant credibilit­y.”

Saving pitches

Jose Fernandez was looking forward to his first career start at AT&T Park on Saturday but was focused on keeping his excitement level in check.

The Marlins’ ace has allowed only two runs in 11 innings over his past two starts, both Miami wins. But soaring pitch counts early in games have prevented him from lasting more than six innings so far.

“We’re just worrying about the way that I’m going out so amped up. We’ve got to control that,” Fernandez said, adding that before his previous outing, “I even told the pitching coach, ‘We have to be careful because I know myself and I get very, very high before and during the game, show a lot of emotions.’ That sometimes can work with you and sometimes it can work against you.”

He’s working on, “Trying to come out of the gate throwing strikes and getting early contact.”

Lineup changes

Catcher J.T. Realmuto was batting second Friday for only the second time in his career. Mattingly said the move was helpful in separating the four left-handed hitters in the batting order, and was hopeful it might boost Realmuto, who is off to a slow start at the plate (.205). One of the lefties was

Derek Dietrich, who was hitting .385, mainly off the bench, but starting for the third consecutiv­e game.

 ?? BEN MARGOT/AP ?? Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds speaks to reporters before the game against the Giants late Friday in San Francisco. For game results, go to SunSentine­l.com/Marlins
BEN MARGOT/AP Marlins hitting coach Barry Bonds speaks to reporters before the game against the Giants late Friday in San Francisco. For game results, go to SunSentine­l.com/Marlins

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