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Pirates pitchers still can't relax
08/10/2002 5:49 PM ET
SAN FRANCISCO -- While neither Kris Benson nor Josh Fogg will be the pitcher to give up Barry Bonds' 600th home run after teammate Kip Wells did the honors Friday night, they still can't relax.

"I can't see how the pressure would be off facing Barry Bonds, unless he doesn't play [Saturday], which would be good," said manager Lloyd McClendon.

It won't be good for Benson, since Bonds surprisingly was in the starting lineup Saturday despite it being a day game after a night game and Bonds nursing a strained right hamstring.

But Fogg, who might see Bonds on Sunday for the first time, said facing the slugger without No. 600 on the line doesn't lessen the pressure.

"I don't think it matters even a little bit," he said. "There might be less pressure on him, but it's not like we've given up 600 home runs to him. We don't have any records that we're chasing. He's the one over there who got his record, and he's one of the best hitters ever to play the game."

The 25-year-old rookie said he wasn't going to think about the possibility of becoming Mr. 600 until after Saturday's game was over.

"It's one of those things where I wasn't planning on being the guy that goes out there and gives it up," he said. "I was going to try to get him out in his four at-bats against me, and hopefully, I would have got him out. But it's a moot point now because Kip ended up giving it up, but he also went out there and battled and won the game."

Left-handers are batting .293 against Fogg, with 12 of the 20 homers he's surrendered coming off the bats of southpaw hitters. Like just about every pitcher who's taken the mound against the single-season home run king, Fogg doesn't know any secret formula for retiring Bonds and hopes for the best if he has to square off against him Sunday.

"[I'll] just try to make quality pitches to him. He's a great hitter," Fogg said. "The pitch he hit out last night was by no means a bad pitch. I'd said 90 percent of the league, you throw that pitch to them, they probably roll it over to second base or something.

"He's got a great gift. He's able to hit good pitches and hit them real hard, so it's just one of those things where you try to keep him off balance and hopefully get him to put a couple of bad swings on the ball."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.