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No foolin' -- baseball's back
Bonds picks up where he left off; Eckstein has grand weekend
By Rich Draper / MLB.com

Randy Johnson struck out 12 and allowed one run in seven innings on April 6. (Darren Hauck/AP)
April was a prophetic month, in a sense, a microcosm of how the 2002 season would unfold -- a death in the St. Louis baseball family, barry, barry long homers from Mr. Bonds, an explosion of runs by the Anaheim Angels, strikeout missiles from Randy Johnson and managers getting the axe.

There were also milestones reached, teams already spiraling into losing-streak despair, debilitating injuries to stars. Sound familiar? Sure. April capsulized the vagaries and wonder of Major League Baseball.

April 1
It was a vintage Randy Johnson performance as the Arizona left-hander continued his Opening Day magic by blanking the San Diego Padres, 2-0, on six hits.

April 2
Mr. Long Ball kicked off the new season in style, as the Giants' Barry Bonds became the 25th Major Leaguer to hit two homers on Opening Day and had five RBIs against the Dodgers.

April 3
Veteran powerman Mo Vaughn reached a homer milestone when he hit his 300th career round tripper, but the Mets lost to the Pirates.

Prior to the Blue Jays' game against the Red Sox, Carlos Delgado made a touching plea to all Toronto baseball fans to help him locate his missing baseball shoes.

April Multimedia Highlights
April Audio
April Video  56K | 300K
 April Photos

 
 
    Cards photo tops in 2002
A touching moment with Kannon Kile and the St. Louis Cardinals received the honors as the best baseball photo of 2002. View the complete results >
 
Giambi call garners honors
WCBS announcer John Sterling's description of a mammoth Jason Giambi homer was voted as the best radio call of 2002. See the complete results >

April 4
They were celebrating, for a change, in Florida, as the Devil Rays beat Detroit, 9-2, at Tropicana Field, swept the series, and are 3-0 for the first time in their five-year existence.

April 5
No, there wasn't a fog sweeping in on Wrigley Field, but folks watching the Chicago Cubs from the rooftops surrounding the outfield had a slightly obscured view.

April 6
Players want to solidify their new team's faith in them, and one week after signing a five-year, $55 million deal, Kansas City first baseman Mike Sweeney hit a pivotal two-run homer to give the Royals their first victory of the season.

Once a Brewer, always a Brew...er, maybe. For the first time in his life, Robin Yount came to a ballpark in Milwaukee wearing the uniform of someone other than the Brewers.

April 7
Call NASA. There's still plenty of Rocket fuel left, as Roger Clemens proved he was ready to make his start after being hit on his pitching hand by a batted ball on Opening Day.

It might have been veteran Curt Schilling's best game of his career, as the Diamondbacks allowed just one hit and struck out a career-high 17 in a 2-0 victory over the Brewers.

There was bad news for the Cincinnati Reds, as center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. will be sidelined for three to six weeks after suffering a partial tear in a tendon of his right knee.

April 8
The Tigers didn't waste much time cleaning out their managerial cage, announcing that they fired Phil Garner and general manager Randy Smith following an 0-6 start, the club's worst season-opening stretch in a decade.

Boom, boom, boom, boom went the Boston bats, as Brian Daubach, Nomar Garciaparra, Manny Ramirez and Jason Varitek all homered at Fenway Park as the Red Sox defeated the Royals, 8-4.

April 9
So much for grand entrances. The White Sox spoiled the managerial debut of Luis Pujols, handing the Detroit Tigers an 8-2 loss, their seventh straight to start the season, at Comerica Park.

April 10
Tony La Russa had no inkling the passing of a family member would be the start of a tragic year after returning to the St. Louis dugout, one day after learning of the death of his father.

April 11
Summer suns have always been kind to Indians slugger Jim Thome, a notorious slow starter who broke the ice by driving in five runs against the Twins.

Mommas, don't let your kids grow up to be managers. Florida skipper Jeff Torborg was suspended two games for excessive arguing and inappropriate conduct in a 10-2 loss to the Montreal Expos at Pro Player Stadium.

April 12
That huge clap of thunder you heard was none other than Barry tying Harmon Killebrew with his 573rd homer, good for sixth place on the all-time homer list. It was a three-run shot off Milwaukee's Ben Sheets.

April 14
Call the fire department, get the foam machine working as the Mariners' Ruben Sierra's hot bat accounted for five hits in a victory over Texas, 9-7.

April 15
Just call him Goose Egg for short, as the Padres' Brian Lawrence threw seven shutout innings, extending his consecutive scoreless-innings streak to 16, as he pitched the San Diego Padres to a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

April 16
For the Tigers, it was a loooong wait, but worth it, as they beat the Detroit Tigers after opening the season with 11 losses.

April 17
Rafael Palmeiro collected hit No. 2,500, an RBI double in the 10th inning. His next home run will be No. 450 and will place him in some rather elite company.

April 18
Another manager bit the dust, with the Brewers dismissing manager Davey Lopes on Thursday after two-plus seasons in Milwaukee. Bench coach Jerry Royster takes over on an interim basis. Press conference: Audio | Video

April 20
OK, you Pedro Martinez doubters, take this. The Royals, who could muster just a bloop single against Martinez, can tell you he looks pretty good.

April 21
The Big Unit overpowered the Colorado Rockies at Bank One, striking out 17 as he tossed a complete game while allowing just two hits in Arizona's 7-1 win.

April 23
All-Star Texas catcher Ivan Rodriguez is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a herniated disc in his back, while John Rocker was recalled Tuesday by the Rangers before he ever reported for his minor league assignment.

April 24
This Lyon was certainly the king this day, as Brandon Lyon became the first Toronto pitcher this year to throw six shutout innings, and the Blue Jays made that effort stand up in a 2-1 win over Texas.

April 25
Even warming up can be hazardous to a pitcher. Orioles right-hander Jason Johnson will be out at least one month after fracturing the middle finger on his pitching hand while preparing for his scheduled start.

April 26
Around and around the managerial not-so-merry-go-round goes as the Colorado Rockies, with the worst record in the National League, have fired manager Buddy Bell and replaced him with hitting coach Clint Hurdle.

April 27
Derek Lowe retired the last 20 Devil Rays on Saturday, recording the first no-hitter at Fenway Park since 1965. Boston rolled, 10-0.

April 28
He's not Mickey Mouse, more like Mighty Mouse. David Eckstein hit a grand slam for the second straight day, this time in the 14th inning to give the Angels an 8-5 win over the Blue Jays.

April 29
Despite being fired on Monday, Kansas City manager Tony Muser still looks at the KC box score first thing every morning, and wishes interim manager John Mizerock good luck. Brian McRae talked about Royals baseball.

April 30
Hmm. Think the Angels might go far this season? Troy Glaus went 4-for-6 with a homer and five RBIs to power the Angels past the Indians, 21-2, Tuesday at Jacobs Field.

Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.