KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
CINCINNATI -- Shifting into an upbeat mode, Barry Bonds expressed optimism in his latest Web-site message about playing before the season ends.
"There is a good possibility that I could be back in September with the team," the Giants left fielder said in the update posted late Monday, "but, if not, I will definitely be in the 2006 lineup."
This differed from what Bonds told MLB.com on Aug.1, when he said, "I don't think you're going to see me out there this year." But Bonds explained on his Web site that his right knee, which required three arthroscopic surgeries between Jan. 31 and May 2, has improved markedly.
"Two weeks ago things didn't look too promising, but the past 10 days my rehab has taken a turn for the better," said Bonds, who is working out in Los Angeles. "My strength and endurance have increased and my knee is feeling much better. I have been playing catch and in the next few weeks I hope to be in the cage doing some hitting."
Bonds also has been encouraged by the "torque levels" in his right leg. That resulted from tests conducted by Dr. Lewis Yocum, who has overseen the left fielder's regimen, and physical therapist Clive Brewster, whom Bonds referred to on his Web site as "Clyde."
Felipe Alou welcomed Bonds' news Tuesday, though the manager tempered his remarks with realism.
"I had lost some hope" of Bonds' playing this season, Alou said. "After seeing that, I'm going back to having some confidence that he might come back."
But, Alou said, "We're running out of time. I know Barry could hit big league pitching right now. But what about his running? What about his defense?"