Is the ghost of Barry Bonds sitting on the shoulders of the Giants' hitters these days?

Probably not. Technically, Bonds would have to be dead for his ghost to be lurking, and he's alive, but you know what I mean.

The Giants are hitting the nacho cheese out of the baseball, and maybe it's an early surge, blind squirrels finding nuts. Manager Bruce Bochy might have unintentionally put the whammy on his guys Tuesday by noting that the Giants hit early last season, too, then fizzled.

Kids, here comes Mr. Bochy with his hatpin: Hide your balloons!

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It's true, the Giants are bound to cool off. Brandon Belt's not going to be voted into the Hall of Fame at the All-Star break. But what if the Giants really have become better hitters?

If so, is there a connection between their collective improvement and the spring training appearance of Dr. B. Lamar Bonds?

Bonds spent eight days working with the Giants, on an informal basis. He came back because he was missing the game, and the Giants' front-office folks invited him, partly because they were feeling bad about marginalizing the man who, annoying quirks and all, built the team a nice little ballpark at Third and King.

The visit went well, by outward appearances. The players enjoyed having Bonds around. He was charming not churlish, and my, look at how they've been hitting!

It's a bit early to crown Bonds a coaching savant. He didn't work with Belt, so one theory for the Giants' hot hitting is that the hitters looked at Belt's dramatic improvement since the last two months of last season, after he made swing changes suggested by hitting coach Bam Bam Meulens, coach Joe Lefebvre and Bochy, and said, "Hey, maybe our coaches know what they're talking about and I should listen to them, too!"

But for anyone building a case for Bonds as positive influence, Exhibit A is Angel Pagan. He had three more hits Wednesday and is 18-for-39 (.462). He has hit safely in all nine games.