Hensley, Who Gave Up No. 755 to Bonds, Had Minor League Steroid Suspension

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Clay Hensley became an unusual footnote in baseball history when he served up Barry Bonds' record-tying 755th home run Saturday night.

While Bonds has been shadowed by suspicions of steroid use for several years, which some fans feel has tainted his chase for Hank Aaron's home run record, Hensley got caught when he was in the minor leagues.

In April 2005, Hensley was one of four Padres farmhands who were suspended for 15 games for using performance-enhancing substances, either steroids or steroid precursors.

Overall, 38 minor leaguers were suspended that spring for violating baseball's minor league steroids policy.

"I did something I shouldn't have and I paid the price," Hensley said. "It's in the past. That's all I really have to say about it."

As for the controversy surrounding Bonds, "That has nothing to do with me or the San Diego Padres," Hensley said.

Asked about homering off a pitcher who'd served a steroids suspension, Bonds said: "I don't think we're here to discuss those matters. I think we have a great policy in the sport of baseball and we should just leave it at that."

Hensley made it to the big leagues later in 2005, picking up his first win, coincidentally, against the Giants that Sept. 27 by throwing 3 2-3 scoreless innings in relief.

Hensley originally was an eighth-round draft pick of the Giants before being traded to the Padres on July 13, 2003, for Matt Herges.

Now he's known as the 445th pitcher to allow a homer to Bonds.

"I went after him," Hensley said. "He got the pitch. He's a good hitter. That's what he does if you leave a ball up.

"I felt I played the game right tonight," Hensley said. "First and foremost, we're trying to win a ballgame tonight. I tried not to get too wrapped up in historical facts."

Both Bonds and Hensley said the 2-1 pitch - a 91 mph fastball - was outside.

"I was thinking about finally, mechanically, I did something right," Bonds said. "I don't even think the pitch was a strike. I think it was an up-and-away pitch. I finally did something right. I didn't even have any idea where that ball went. I knew I hit it and I knew I hit it good enough to get out."

Hensley said he wasn't trying to leave a pitch up.

"He hit a fastball up. It was actually really off the plate, but it was high and he went with the pitch," he said.

The 27-year-old Texan came into Saturday night's game with a 13-16 career record and a 3.71 ERA. He was on the opening day roster for the second straight season before straining a groin muscle in a start against Washington on May 2 and going onto the disabled list. He was sent to Triple-A after being activated, then was called up on July 25 after All-Star Chris Young went on the DL.

Hensley was making his first start since May 2.

It was perhaps fitting that Bonds hit a historic homer in San Diego, since he's victimized the Padres so many times before.

Bonds has hit 87 homers against the Padres, his most against any team, and 43 in San Diego, his most in any road city. However, it was just his fourth in 78 at-bats at Petco Park, which opened in 2004.

And to think, Bonds despises Petco Park. The Padres joked before Petco opened in 2004 that they had made it "Bonds proof." After Bonds got his first futile crack at the spacious park, he said the Padres had made it "baseball proof."

The left-hander's shot went an estimated 382 feet to left-center field. The deepest spot at Petco is the gap in right-center, where it's 400 feet.

"It's just a tough ballpark," Bonds said. "I think they really need to move the fences in."