SAN FRANCISCO Barry Bonds, who still hopes to continue his playing career soon, made a surprise visit to AT&T Park on Saturday night during a special pre-game ceremony to honor former outfielders.
The ceremony was part of the Giants' yearlong celebration of their 50th anniversary in the city.
Bonds, scheduled for trial in March for allegedly lying to a grand jury about his performance-enhancing drug use, did not appear at a pre-game social gathering, instead choosing to sign autographs outside the park.
His name was left off the official list of confirmed outfielders, although it was rumored Friday night that he would appear.
After the first 24 former outfielders were introduced, Willie Mays walked through the center field gates unannounced. The crowd rose as he walked slowly toward the infiel A few moments later, Bonds jogged through the left field gates and joined his godfather on the slow walk. He was greeted by a thunderous ovation. Bonds joked with several of his former teammates and two of his former managers, Felipe Alou and Bruce Bochy.
"There are a lot of guys here today and I want to thank them for coming," Mays told the fans. "They are such a good group of guys."
As Mays left the podium, fans began to chant "Barry! Barry! Barry!" until Bonds acquiesced and grabbed the microphone.
"I want to thank the Giants for inviting all these great guys," said Bonds, who appeared in good spirits. "It's weird for me not to be in uniform with the Dodgers right there. You heard me Torre, I beat you before and I can beat you again. I haven't retired. Thank you."
ASTROS' LEE SIDELINED WITH INJURY: Houston Astros slugger Carlos Lee was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday night because of a broken left pinkie and is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks.
Outfielder Reggie Abercrombie's contract was purchased from Triple-A Round Rock.
Lee left the Astros' game at Cincinnati in the third inning Saturday night after getting hit by a pitch.
The left fielder, who reached the 100-RBI level for the fourth consecutive season on Friday night and leads the NL in that category, was hit by a pitch from Bronson Arroyo with Lance Berkman on first base, two outs and Houston leading 1-0. What looked like blood was seen on Lee's left pinkie finger when his batting glove was pulled off.
"It's tough to lose him," manager Cecil Cooper said after Houston's 3-1 win. "It didn't look good. He carried us the last month-and-a-half. It's a big hole to fill, but we're capable of filling it. I'm just now starting to suck it up."
Darin Erstad pinch ran for Lee, who drove in three runs in Houston's 9-5, 10-inning win on Friday to give him 1,001 RBI in his career. He took an eight-game hitting streak into Saturday's game and walked in the first inning.
Erstad will get the bulk of the playing time in left field, and Ty Wigginton will also play, Cooper said.
"They can do it," he said. "They're very capable."
LATINS LEAD DRUG SUSPENSIONS: Baseball's drug suspensions are dominated by Latin Americans.
Seventeen minor leaguers have received 50-game bans since July 25, and 16 of them tested positive while playing in the Dominican and Venezuelan summer leagues. The latest two were announced Friday, when New York Mets minor league pitchers Leandro Geremy and Jose Valentin were penalized. Geremy's test showed metabolites of Nandrolone and Valentin's a metabolite of Boldenone.
"The way we're going to improve this situation is by education, not only in Latin America, but here," said New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya, among the highest-ranking Latinos in the sport. "When we build the academies, we have to continue to invest in education."
Baseball didn't announce suspensions of players in the Dominican and Venezuelan leagues prior to this year because of legal issues.
Before July 25, just eight players had been suspended this year following positive tests for performance-enhancing drugs: San Francisco catcher Eliezer Alfonso, Colorado infielder Humberto Cota and six minor leaguers. But once those Latin American summer leagues started, the number of suspensions skyrocketed.
PHILLIES MAKE ROOM FOR EYRE: The Philadelphia Phillies optioned left-hander J.A. Happ to Triple-A Lehigh Valley before Friday night's game against Pittsburgh to make room for newly acquired Scott Eyre.
Happ made one appearance out of the bullpen after he was recalled on July 29. He had a 5.54 ERA in three games, two of them starts, in two separate stints with the club this season. Eyre, a Cyprus High graduate, was acquired from the Chicago Cubs on Thursday for minor league pitcher Brian Schlitter. Eyre is 2-0 with a 7.15 ERA this season and will be used as the team's situational left-hander out of the bullpen.
CHIPPER'S BACK WITH BRAVES: Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones was activated from the 15-day disabled list and started against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night for his first action in two weeks.
Jones, who leads the majors with a .369 batting average and .466 on-base percentage, missed 14 games with a strained left hamstring. Jones has missed a total of 26 games this season, during which the Braves are 9-17.