Report: Bonds to play for U.S. in WBC

Bonds likely to play for U.S. in WBC

Barry Bonds will be back in uniform next March, but the twist is that he'll likely oppose the San Francisco Giants in a contest at Scottsdale Stadium in Arizona.

The 41-year-old slugger has agreed to play for the U.S. squad in the World Baseball Classic, with agent Jeff Borris telling the Oakland Tribune Bonds has informed the Players Association of the decision.

Borris said it wasn't official yet.

"There are still a few details to be worked out," Borris said. "But he has agreed to play."

The U.S. team will face the Giants on March 5 in an exhibiton game at renovated Scottsdale Stadium, which will also host the WBC's first round Pool B games on March 9-11, along with Chase Field (formerly Bank One Ballpark) in Phoenix. Competing will be the U.S., Canada, Mexico and South Africa.

Bobby Bonilla, the union's special assistant and a former teammate of Bonds with the Pittsburgh Pirates, told The Tribune it was important the Giants' megastar will participate in the inaugural WBC.

"I'm ecstatic," said Bonilla. "He pretty much agreed in principle to play without hesitation. I'm just happy he's going to be a part of it. It's huge. We need the best player in the game and we've got him."

The roster will be finalized at a later date, but it's likely Bonds will be a designated hitter in the competition if he is selected for the team.

Major League Baseball will officially announce several other players who will compete in the WBC at a press conference next Monday afternoon from the Winter Meetings in Dallas.

Bonds, who played in only 14 games for the Giants last season after three knee surgeries and a bacterial infection, has been working out in Los Angeles under the supervision of physical therapist Clive Brewster, and the slugger has reportedly lost considerable weight. He has vowed to be around 200 pounds, some 40 pounds under his playing weight the last few seasons, to help his surgically repaired right knee.

Giants general manager Brian Sabean said Bonds hasn't been examined recently by Dr. Lewis Yocum, who monitored the player's rehab last season, meaning Bonds has had no setbacks in strengthening his knee.

Second-round WBC games are slated for March 13-15 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, with the finals March 18-20 at PETCO Park in San Diego.

In addition to the Pool B teams, other countries in the WBC are Japan, Korea, Chinese Taipei, China, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Panama, Netherlands, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Australia and Italy.

Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.