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NL: Coach sees self more as observer

By KEVIN KELLY, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 14, 2002


SAN FRANCISCO -- The job probably is much tougher than it appears or Gene Clines lets on.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The job probably is much tougher than it appears or Gene Clines lets on.

The Bradenton resident, who won a World Series title as an outfielder with the Pirates in 1971, has spent the past six seasons instructing Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent and the rest of the Giants as the club's hitting coach.

"I'm familiar with all the guys, their habits," the 56-year-old said Sunday. "It's been fun watching these guys develop, get better each year."

Since Clines joined Dusty Baker's staff in 1997, the Giants have batted .269 and scored 5,005 runs during the regular season, third in the National League behind the Rockies (.288, 5,324) and Astros (.270, 5,008). Kent and Bonds have won MVP awards, and Bonds has won a batting title and set the single-season home run record while under Clines' direction.

"All you do is just try to keep them focused on what they have to do," Clines said. "Basically there's not a whole lot to do other than just keep an eye on them, try to remind them if they start getting into some bad habits. A lot of times it goes back to small fundamental adjustments."

* * *

NO ROLEN: Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen was not in the starting lineup for the fifth consecutive game because of his sprained left shoulder, but he did work out indoors before the game.

It is unclear whether Rolen, who batted .278 with 14 homers and 44 RBIs in 55 games after being traded from Philadelphia in July, can play today.

"If he's not doing things on the field," manager Tony La Russa said, "he's not close yet."

LITTLE INSPIRATION: His uniform pants stained with grass after pre-batting practice playtime in the outfield with Matt Morris and Garrett Stephenson, Kannon Kile was in the Cardinals dugout for the second straight game.

The 5-year-old son of late pitcher Darryl Kile is more than just a good luck charm to his father's teammates.

"Sometimes just seeing him, we want to see how he's doing and ease his pain, and he's the one that comforts us," said Morris, who pitches Game 5 today. "It's amazing. He's like a miniature DK. It's good to see him laughing and hanging out with the guys again.

"He'll high-five you no matter if it's a strikeout or a home run. It's fun having him around."

ODDS AND ENDS: Huey Lewis & the News performed the national anthem. ... Former Giants manager Roger Craig, who had a 586-566 record in San Francisco when he retired in 1992, threw out the first pitch. ... The first pitch was delayed 15 minutes to accommodate the broadcast of the Angels-Twins game.

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