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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bonds ready to return tonight

Associated Press


A cheerful Barry Bonds looked upbeat and relaxed Sunday as he prepared to come off the disabled list and play for the first time this year.

Bonds will start in left field and bat cleanup when he returns to the Giants’ lineup tonight as they open a three-game series against the Padres.

“Right now, I’m just trying to keep my mind clear, that’s it,” Bonds said.

Manager Felipe Alou is sure Bonds will pick up right where he left off, despite going nearly a year without facing major league pitching.

“I expect a lot with the bat,” Alou said. “What I see in BP is the same BP I’ve seen before.”

Piazza sits as precaution

Mike Piazza sat out the series finale against the Cardinals as a precaution after the Mets catcher was beaned Saturday and sustained a concussion.

Piazza had been scheduled for a day off anyway.

Piazza met with St. Louis manager Tony La Russa after the game Saturday night but would not say what they discussed. La Russa said he told Piazza the beaning was unintentional.

Clearing the bases

Andruw Jones broke the Braves’ franchise record for home runs in a season, a mark he briefly shared with Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews, by hitting his 48th and 49th. … The Rangers lead the majors with 241 home runs and are on pace for 273 homers, nine more than the Mariners hit when they set the big league record in 1997. … Left-hander Mike Hampton was activated off the 15-day disabled list by the Braves. Manager Bobby Cox said he isn’t sure how Hampton will fit into the rotation.

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