Giants players love having Barry Bonds at spring training

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Barry Bonds is back in a Giants uniform as a spring training instructor and Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com writes that “his every word was met with rapt attention” from players.

For instance, outfielder Michael Morse got some tutoring on his swing and afterward told Baggarly:

Oh my gosh, are you kidding me? The guy’s amazing. To have Barry Bonds watching me hit? I can cross that off my bucket list.

Shortstop Brandon Crawford also gave Bonds’ tutoring positive reviews and got a rare glimpse at the seven-time MVPs current swing:

Looks the same. Swing looks good. He claims he hasn’t swung a bat in six years. … Everything that I heard him talk about this morning is keeping your swing as simple as possible, and he explains it in the simplest ways.

And last but not least, a story about Giants minor leaguers Nick Noonan and Roger Kieschnick meeting Bonds:

Bonds watched them take BP in their own group and offered constant comments as they shuffled in and out of the cage. They got so carried away that they had to hustle back into the clubhouse and run to catch the bus to play the Reds at Goodyear. They would’ve missed it if a car hadn’t been illegally parked and blocking the driveway.

Something to consider next time you read a column about Bonds being a universally despised monster.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.