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Thursday, March 4, 2004
Updated: March 5, 1:02 PM ET
Bonds has first spring plate appearance

Associated Press

MESA, Ariz. -- Barry Bonds made a brief exhibition debut on a cold and wet Thursday and wanted to just talk baseball after a one at-bat appearance against the Chicago Cubs.

Barry Bonds
Barry Bonds tosses a ball behind his back to fans in between innings on Thursday.
The Giants slugger didn't discuss a report in the San Francisco Chronicle that federal investigators were told the slugger was given steroids and human growth hormone.

"There is no need to address anything other than baseball. It's what I do, play baseball," Bonds said Thursday.

Asked if his preparation for the season was on course, despite the distractions, Bonds added: "So far, it's been great. So far, it's been working out real good."

Bonds didn't seem irritated by all the attention as he was surrounded in a small locker room by a crowd of reporters. Asked if too much was being made of the outside issues, he said: "You guys have to do your job. It's all right."

On a rainy 46-degree day, Bonds was cheered when his name was introduced in the lineup by the public address announcer. But he drew boos when he came to the plate in the first before bouncing out to the pitcher.

"I don't hear people that often, not really," Bonds said.

The raw weather limited Bonds to just one inning in the field.

"It's too risky out there right now," he said. "You got some guys who can't really get motivated in something like this. But do the best you can."

With the talk of steroids saturating baseball, Giants manager Felipe Alou said he didn't know if his team was burdened by it all.

"I haven't see it yet and I won't know until the season starts," Alou said.

"On our club the Giants, the players and the staff we are really not the ones talking."

Dusty Baker, who managed Bonds in San Francisco before taking the Cubs' job last season, said the six-time MVP is used to the hoopla after his home run binge of three years ago.

"You don't do what he's done and been through what he's been through without being tough," Baker said.

"Can't do it. You don't hit 73 home runs without being tough."