New York Barry Bonds is 10 home runs away from breaking Hank Aaron's career record - and insists it's still too early to talk about the hallowed record.
Bonds was in the lineup Wednesday night against the New York Mets, ready to resume his march toward Aaron's total of 755. He isn't ready, however, to talk about the significance of the number.
"We're not there yet," he said. "We're not even close enough to even discuss it at this moment."
As Bonds spoke, he held a digital recorder near his mouth throughout the interview so he could post it on his Web site.
Bonds missed most of the Giants' 5-4 loss in 12 innings against New York on Tuesday night, his first game in Shea Stadium this season. He pinch-hit in the 10th and walked as the crowd of 47,940 booed lustily.
If the reaction got to Bonds at all, he wasn't saying.
"It was like a concert," he said.
He got a mixed reaction when he departed the dugout to prepare for the middle game of the series, with one fan yelling, "Yo, let Barry warm up. Back up," at the large group of reporters following his every move. Others clamored for Bonds' autograph as he moved out to the field.
The slugger, dogged everywhere by allegations of steroid use, got some sarcastic encouragement during batting practice. "C'mon, Barry! Flex some artificial muscle," one man bellowed from behind the visitor's dugout.
Bonds, batting .275 with 12 homers and 25 RBIs coming into the game, seemed to take it all in stride.
"I'm just glad to be back in the lineup," said Bonds, who was booed again when he came up in the first inning Tuesday night. "It was good to take a day off. I've played a lot of games. I just want to get back out there with my teammates."
Those teammates will be there if Bonds breaks Aaron's record but it remains to be seen if commissioner Bud Selig will make it. Selig, a good friend of Aaron's, has refused to say whether he'll attend games as Bonds nears the record and Aaron has said he won't be there.
"I don't have a thought about it," Bonds said. "Hank Aaron has been in the game a long time. He's well-respected by all of us. We all love him and we admire him, and I'll leave it at that."