The Bonds Circus Invades Oakland

The annual Bay Bridge Series will have a different feel this weekend, and it isn't just because of the unusual rainy forecast. Barry Bonds, and all of the distractions that come with him, is visiting Oakland for the first time this year, and he's sitting on 713 home runs, meaning he could catch Babe Ruth just a bay away from San Francisco.

Third baseman Eric Chavez is looking forward to the series while dreaming about having Bonds as a teammate. Chavez was interested to hear that Bonds is considering being a designated hitter next season, if he continues playing, and why rule out Oakland?

"Hopefully, he comes here, gets comfortable and likes it," Chavez said before three-game Bay Bridge series that begins Friday.

The fans reaction is expected to be mixed to Bonds, as the crowd will include a mix of A's and Giants fans. Sellouts are expected for all three games, despite the rain.

The first-game matchup features Oakland's Dan Haren and San Francisco's Noah Lowry, who always seem to face each other. They're good friends and former teammates at Pepperdine.

The last four times Lowry faced the A's, Haren was the opposing pitcher, including three times in spring training and once in the regular season, last June 25, when Haren threw a complete game and Lowry was dinged for five runs in six innings.

Haren has retired Bonds in all four career at-bats against the slugger. He has allowed 11 homeruns this season, tops on the team, but he also has the fewest walks of any starter.

THURSDAY's REPLAY: Nick Swisher hit a simple first-inning single Thursday in the A's 6-3 win over Seattle. With that, he extended his streak of reaching base (by a hit or walk) to 35 games.

Swisher has been Oakland's best hitter this season, leading the team in both homers (13) and RBIs (34) while being the only A's regular hitting above .300 (Chavez is just shy of .300).

Oakland swept the three-game series with the Mariners.

Thursday's Notebook

--RHP Kirk Saarloos got credit for Thursday's 6-3 victory even though he allowed baserunners every inning of his 6 2/3-inning stint, including the leadoff man in his first four innings. He was charged with one earned run on eight hits.

--RHP Esteban Loaiza, who has had velocity and control issues, is improving in his recovery from his strained left trapezius muscle. Loaiza has been on the disabled list since April 29, but a Tuesday bullpen session showed more life in his arm. He's scheduled to throw a simulated game Friday. This is the first year of Loaiza's three-year, $21 million contract. In four starts, he's 0-3 with an 8.35 ERA.

--DH Frank Thomas has played two games since missing four games with a strained right quadriceps, hitting a two-run single Thursday in a 6-3 win over Seattle. Thomas has been instructed to take it easy on the basepaths. He has reached base four times in his last two games. Thomas is due for rest in June, when the A's play nine games in NL ballparks, without the use of the DH rule.

--LHP Joe Kennedy hasn't pitched in eight straight games because of soreness in his biceps. The A's aren't bringing up a possible DL stint because, they say, there's no structural damage in the arm. In addition, the A's don't currently have a left-handed reliever in Sacramento, with lefty Tim Rall on the DL and Ron Flores in Oakland already.

--LHP Randy Keisler returned from the bereavement list Thursday. He was granted time off to be with his ailing grandmother. With Keisler's return, RHP Matt Roney was sent back to Triple-A Sacramento.

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