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Notes: Sexson HR still the talk04/27/2004 9:33 PM ET
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Twenty-four hours later, Richie Sexson's massive home run was still the talk of Bank One Ballpark.
The Diamondbacks originally planned to have the damaged piece of the JumboTron, where Sexson's ball hit, repaired but decided to instead wait until after the homestand ends Wednesday so that fans could have a chance to see where the ball hit.
For the record the JumboTron is close to 415 feet away from home plate and the ball hit a spot on the board that is 82 feet off the ground.
Sexson received plenty of phone calls Monday night as the home run was shown on highlight shows nationwide. That was how Sexson finally saw the home run. He put his head down and rounded the bases after making contact Monday and did not see where the ball hit. He was reluctant to speak too much about it Tuesday out of respect for Cubs pitcher Francis Beltran.
"You just try not to be disrespectful in situations like this for the pitcher," he said. "It's tough to talk about it in that manner because like I said it's got to be hard for him and I don't want to do anything to hurt his feelings."
Left fielder Luis Gonzalez has taken some serious ribbing from his teammates over the homer. Gonzalez hit a ball to deep center Monday, but his was caught on the warning track.
"Poor Gonzo hit one out there to the 413 mark a couple innings later and boy did he get it when he got back in the dugout," Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly. "It's all in good fun."
Sexson entered Tuesday's game tied with Barry Bonds for the Major League lead in homers with nine.
"It's the old saying, 'it's not how far, it's how many', so I'll take wall-scrapers from here on out if they go over the fence," he said.
The shift cost Gonzalez a hit in the first inning when he hit a ball up the middle that was fielded by the shortstop. So when he came to bat in the third with two outs and a runner on third base, Gonzalez tried to drop a bunt down the third-base line. The move caught the Cubs by surprise and Gonzalez would have been safe had the ball not rolled foul.
"They were playing me so deep at third," Gonzalez said. "The only bad part was (pitcher Carlos Zambrano) was throwing 98 mph and he threw it up and in. If he would have left it out over the plate all I would have had to do was get it down anywhere in the vicinity and I would have been all right."
Gonzalez isn't about to become a bunting machine, but he will drop one down at times if the situation is right so he can keep teams honest on defense.
"At least it puts it in their mind that I could do it," he said.
Basic training: The club put a renewed emphasis on fundamentals during Spring Training and Brenly said it would continue during the season.
Tuesday, the manager made good on that promise as the club worked on bunt defense plays prior to batting practice. At other times they will work on cutoff and relays as well as pickoff plays.
"We're going to mix them in throughout the course of the year," Brenly said. "Just kind of drop them in where we feel they're needed just as a refresher to make sure everybody remembers all the plays, remembers all the signs and hopefully we won't make any mistakes on those plays."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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