Bonds says he'll be ready for opener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Barry Bonds expects to be ready for San Francisco's season opener on April 5, and the Giants reportedly have been given permission to use a designated hitter during spring training home games in order to ease him into the exhibition season.

MLB.com reported Tuesday that the commissioner's office had granted the Giants' request.

"I've never missed an opening day," Bonds said Tuesday. "Being announced before your fans on Opening Day is great. The main thing down here is to be able to play nine innings consistently every day. That's recovery. When you can play every game in the major leagues for nine innings, that's recovery. Nobody
is ever ready to completely play on opening day. It's the Adrenalin rush for Opening Day."

Bonds had surgery on his right knee on Jan. 31 and when he arrived at spring training said he was unsure whether the knee would recover in time to play the opener. He has not played in any exhibition games.

The Cincinnati Reds were given permission last weekend to use a DH in five home games starting Thursday so that Ken Griffey Jr. can bat without playing the field. In spring training, the DH usually is used only at the home parks of American League teams.

"After I read that the Reds had approached MLB on this issue and were granted approval, I decided to call MLB myself and ask that Barry be accorded the same privilege while he recovers from
his knee surgery," Giants assistant general manager Ned Colletti
said. "What MLB told me was that as long as we offered the
visiting team the same opportunity to use a DH during one of our
home games and contacted MLB before we do it, it would be OK.

"I can't image a team saying no to this," Colletti said.
"They would have the same opportunity to give a batter at-bats
using the DH rule."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.