The Giants’ 3-1 win tonight over the Dodgers moves the former to within 5 games of the National League West leading Padres, ordinarily not the sort of thing anyone would make a big deal about. SF’s record of 63-73 with less than a month to play shouldn’t scare anyone, but what happens if Barry Bonds is activated as soon as tomorrow?

From the SF Chronicle’s Beth Harris :

Barry Bonds worked out with the San Francisco Giants on Monday, taking batting practice and testing his throwing arm before the team opened a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Bonds, recovering from three operations on his right knee since Jan. 31, said he didn’t know when he would return to the lineup.

“It’s day-by-day right now, get through today and see how I turn out,” he told a horde of reporters in the Giants’ dugout.

The 41-year-old slugger took 17 swings and hit five balls over the fence during his turn in the batting cage.

“I did pretty well today,” he said. “When I get back on the field, I want to be playing where I left off.”

Alou said he’s confident Bonds’ swing will be as potent as ever when he returns.

“I don’t have doubts that he’ll hit or that they’ll walk him,” Alou said. “The swing has always been there.”

However, Bonds’ defense and baserunning ability have yet to be tested. He has missed the entire season and there has been talk that he wouldn’t play again until 2006. He has 703 homers, third on the career list behind Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).

He admitted that drawing his usual number of walks would take a toll. He was walked a major league-record 232 times last season on the way to his record seventh NL MVP award.

“When you’re on that base a lot, it takes a lot out of your body,” he said. “That would be a huge, huge test for me. That’s the thing I have to think about because that would be real, real hard if that situation came up.”

Bonds believes he can still be an everyday player, but he said there might be days he would sit out.

“It has nothing to do with my leg, it would be because I’m just too damn old to do it,” he said, laughing.

ESPN’s Pedro Gomez is reporting that Bonds scuffled with a teammate who may or may not have been Jason Christiansen.

As Barry Bonds joined his teammates for the first time in nearly three months, multiple sources have confirmed to ESPN’s Pedro Gomez that Bonds’ leaving the team for Los Angeles in late June was precipitated by a clubhouse fight with a teammate.

A Giants player took offense to Harvey Shields, one of Bonds’ personal trainers the team hired at Bonds’ urging, while in the players’ food room at SBC Park.

Shortly after the unnamed Giants player and Shields exchanged words, Bonds sought out the player inside the clubhouse and had words.

A scuffle ensued in which Bonds punched the player in the jaw, whereupon the player put Bonds in a headlock and retaliated.

The two were separated by players and Giants personnel, though Bonds and the player have since made amends.