SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. Barry Bonds put on a batting-practice show Friday, hitting long home runs that impressed observers - even if they did come off a 50-year old coach.
Bonds took batting practice for a third straight day in a positive sign for the San Francisco Giants, who are counting on him being fully recovered from three operations last year on his right knee.
He connected for eight home runs off first-base coach Luis Pujols, who was throwing from well in front of the mound. None of the homers were cheap, and one memorable shot went over the pavilion in right field and might have traveled close to 500 feet.
"He looks good, fresh," manager Felipe Alou said. "If you don't have any bat speed it's hard to catch up with what Pujols throws from such a short range."
Bonds earlier took live batting practice against Noah Lowry and Pedro Liriano, taking most of the pitches to work on his timing and only hitting a couple of balls hard. After getting too far out in front of a pitch from Liriano and grounding it to first, Bonds said, "Nasty changeup. Good changeup, dude."
It's unknown how Bonds feels about his progress since he told media members he would not conduct any interviews until they signed a release waiver allowing footage of them to be shown on his upcoming reality TV show on ESPN.
"We asked to see a copy of the release," said Rich Levin, a spokesman for baseball commissioner Bud Selig. "We want to know more about it."
ESPN is working with Bonds for a behind-the-scenes look at his quest for baseball's all-time home-run record.
"ESPN is not responsible for asking for these waivers, and our reporters will be not be signing them," ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said. "ESPN original entertainment, a separate division from our news-gathering operation, has been having ongoing discussions with an outside production company for this series, which hasn't been finalized or announced."