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What did we learn in April?

We’re a month into 2007. Too soon, generally speaking, to come to any definitive conclusions. Doesn’t mean we haven’t learned anything. To wit:

Barry Bonds will be spending a lot of time on his feet. Bonds has blasted eight home runs, and that can only mean that a parade of walks, intentional and not, are coming. If I’m an opposing manager, I wouldn’t give him anything to hit. It appears the only thing that can slow Bonds and his pursuit of Henry Aaron are tired legs. What better way to do that, if you’re an opposing manager, than to make sure he rarely gets off them.

— Ray Durham has not flopped. Durham has responded to his new two-year deal by playing great defense, hitting consistently and staying in the lineup. And if he continues to hit behind Bonds, he’ll get a ton of pitches to hit.

— No reason to hold off on the Tim Lincecum Era. Lincecum is destroying opponents at Triple-A Fresno. Imagine Lincecum and Cain heading a rotation that suddenly would have one starter expendable. Could bring a needed hitter come July.

— The Giants weren’t as bad as they were during a 2-7 start, and they’re not as good as they showed during an eight-game winning streak. The guess here is that they’ll win a couple, lose a couple until they acquire an extra hitter and/or some bullpen help.

Before you bury the A’s, remember this: They lost three straight to the Angels heading into the All-Star break and had a daunting 10-game trip to Boston, Baltimore and Detroit. They seemed done. Then they went 6-4, steadied themselves and ended up in the ALCS. The point is, the A’s seem to be a sinking ship at some point every year, and every year, they righten themselves. No reason to think it won’t happen again.

— That said, it would behoove Milton Bradley to stay healthy for the rest of the season. He gets his first shot at free agency this winter, and other teams won’t want to go crazy over a guy who’s a sure bet to be sidelined for a significant stretch.

— ESPN’s Buster Olney raised the possibility of Billy Beane trading Rich Harden. Very intriguing. Nothing Beane does would stun me anymore, but since Harden is not making huge money yet, I’d bet the A’s try to get through 2007 with Harden (provided they stay in the race). I could see the A’s moving him this winter, though, especially if the Devil Rays offer Carl Crawford among a group of hitters.

— Gotta feel for Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. No human should have to go through such a stunning tragedy twice. Just imagine that phone call to Josh Hancock’s dad.

rhurd