Notes: Matthews recalls baby-sitter

Notes: Matthews recalls baby-sitter

ANAHEIM -- Gary Nathaniel Matthews Jr. was born in San Francisco in 1974, his father a Giants outfielder at the time. One of his baby-sitters as he grew up would be the son -- Barry Lamar Bonds -- of another Giants outfielder, Bobby Bonds.

"When I was 6, he'd have been 16," Matthews said. "Barry was cool. I'd go into his room and hang out. I've known Barry since I was born. I was the little kid; he was the big kid."

The big kid kept growing, and now he's the game's all-time home run king.

Soon after Bonds struck No. 756 in San Francisco on Tuesday night, video of the epic blast was shown on the big board above right field at Angel Stadium. Matthews stood deep in thought in center field, absorbing the wonder of it all, how surreal it felt.

"I thought not only about Barry, but also about his father," Matthews said. "I was wondering what it feels like to make history. It's different, because it's such a big record. Here he is, the all-time home run leader -- the guy who used to baby-sit me back in San Francisco.

"His dad and my dad played together for a few years (1972 through '74), and they were close. I got to know Bobby very well; I really loved him. Bobby was like part of our family. I thought about how fortunate I am to have my dad with me, and it hit me that Barry's dad wasn't there to see it."

Matthews happened to be in the midst of one of his finest games while Bonds was making history to the north. Matthews homered, doubled and singled, driving in four runs, and he also took a homer away from Boston's Coco Crisp with a leaping catch in left-center.

In the afterglow, Gary had eyes only for the TV screen in the clubhouse as it relayed pictures and details of Barry's historic night.

"We can only speculate how he feels about everything," Matthews said. "He got that weight off his shoulders.

"It's something I can't even get my mind around, hitting that many home runs and being in the same sentence with Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth. It doesn't seem possible.

"It's too bad Bobby couldn't be there, but I know how proud he would be ... is."

Bobby Bonds was an electric player, swift, powerful and bold. He hit 332 home runs in his career. Together, father and son are at 1,088 and counting.

There's another record for the ages, a target for future generations of fathers and sons.

Rivera clears hurdle: Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Juan Rivera, recovering from a broken leg suffered over the winter, is, "Making good progress with the possibility of getting in games, rehab games, next week," Scioscia said.

"It's encouraging that he has cleared a hurdle [with] agility drills, baseball-related drills, stamina, where he feels his body is right now. Usually, the last 5 or 10 percent is the toughest in rehabilitating."

Rivera has been working out at the team's facility in Tempe, Ariz. The Angels hope to have him in uniform when rosters expand on Sept. 1 as a weapon off the bench.

Health updates: Bartolo Colon is about to test his right elbow throwing from a mound in a bullpen session scheduled for Friday, a "touch and feel" session, Scioscia said.

Colon has been on the disabled list since July 24. He has been throwing long toss on flat ground and, "Still needs to test his arm aggressively in the bullpen with all his pitches, and that's going to take some time," Scioscia said.

There is no target date yet for his return to game action, but Scioscia said he'll have rehab outings in the Minor Leagues before rejoining the Angels.

Catcher Mike Napoli also is making progress with his right hamstring strain, and he could be ready when he's eligible to come off the DL on Sunday.

Speier a big plus: One of the club's most positive developments in recent weeks has been the return to form of setup man Justin Speier after missing 64 games with an intestinal infection.

Speier has a staff-best 1.91 ERA and has stranded all 17 runners he has inherited this season. He is holding opposing batters to a .162 average.

"Our bullpen roles are there," Scioscia said. "Justin Speier is doing a great job. He's a huge bridge to the back-end guys [Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez]. Dustin [Moseley] and some other guys pitched well in his spot, but you don't realize how important a guy is until he's not there."

Minor sensations: Bobby Wilson, another of the club's talented young catchers, had two doubles and a single in an 11-5 win by Triple-A Salt Lake over Round Rock on Tuesday. Wilson also brought starter Henry Bonilla through seven innings, giving up two runs to move to 10-6.

Outfielder Terry Evans continued to swing the bat with authority, driving in four runs with a homer (his 14th) and single. He's batting .321.

For Class A Cedar Rapids, second baseman Ryan Mount tripled and homered, driving in three runs in a 4-3 win over South Bend.

On Aug. 8 in Angels history: Jered Weaver last season became the first pitcher in club history to win his first six starts in a 6-0 blanking of Oakland.

Up next: After a day off on Thursday, the Angels welcome Minnesota to Angel Stadium with Kelvim Escobar (11-6, 2.79) facing Scott Baker (6-4, 4.43) in Friday's opener at 7:05 p.m. PT

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.