SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Bud Selig wants to read the book before making any decisions about Barry Bonds. On a day when Bonds was in California for a child custody hearing, baseball kept buzzing about him Wednesday — specifically, about an upcoming book that describes in vivid detail the slugger's alleged steroids use.
Selig has no plans to meet with the San Francisco star. Instead, the commissioner will wait.
"I will review all the material that's relative in every way," he said. "Obviously, we've only seen parts of things.
"The book itself doesn't come out until the end of the month," he said in Phoenix at the World Baseball Classic game between Canada and the United States. "But we will review everything there is to look at and at some appropriate time I'll have further comment, but I don't have any further comment at this point."
The Giants responded to Selig's comments by saying they would cooperate fully with the commissioner.
"The Giants fully support and will assist with commissioner Bud Selig's review of the circumstances surrounding the recent published report about Barry Bonds," the team said in a statement.
Bonds, who has repeatedly denied using performance-enhancing drugs, posted a note on his Web site thanking fans for their support without mentioning the newest allegations. His lawyer, meanwhile, questioned the book's credibility.
All around baseball, Bonds was topic No. 1.
Boston pitcher David Wells said Bonds should "be a man and come out and say that he did it" if he used steroids. Wells said Bonds "probably" used them.
"If you're guilty and you got caught, come clean. I think you can get a lot more respect from people than (by) lying," Wells said.
Roger Clemens offered another opinion.
"I worry more about the man's health than I do about him hitting home runs or whatever this witch hunt we're on," the Team USA ace said.
"I think he got hammered pretty good last year, and it seems to be happening again this year. I don't know if it's going to change anything," he said.
Yankees manager Joe Torre said Bonds' Hall of Fame status was up to individual voters. He said the overall steroids scandal had given the sport "a black eye" and watered down the home run marks.
"I think right now we have already diluted that," he said.
Bonds, with 708 home runs and only 48 shy of breaking Hank Aaron's career record, was absent from Giants' camp because of a hearing that was scheduled more than a month ago. But it certainly fell at the right time to provide him a brief respite, a day after Sports Illustrated released excerpts from "Game of Shadows," written by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters.
"I want to thank you all for your e-mails and the words of support and encouragement yesterday," Bonds wrote on his Web site.
"There are a lot of exciting things going on in baseball right now. I would like to congratulate Team USA on their win over Mexico. I continue to be focused about this spring and the upcoming season. Later, Barry Bonds."
At the San Mateo County Superior Courthouse in Redwood City, Calif., Bonds smiled as he exited with his legal staff. He did not respond to a barrage of questions about the book as he left the building.
His attorney, Michael L. Rains, issued a statement on Bonds' site, http://www.barrybonds.com.
"My client, Barry Bonds, has not read the Sports Illustrated article and does not intend to. Furthermore, he does not intend to read the book from which the article is excerpted. Barry regards this as an unfortunate distraction to his friends and teammates at the San Francisco Giants and to the good name and the great players in Major League Baseball," he said.
"The exploitation of Barry's good name ... may make those responsible wealthy, but in the end, have misled the public in the interest of financial and professional self promotion," he said.
Bonds was expected to return to Arizona late Wednesday in time to work out Thursday — or perhaps play for the first time this spring.
The 41-year-old Bonds has been out of the exhibition lineup after playing only 14 games last season because of three operations on his troublesome right knee. Giants manager Felipe Alou didn't rule out the seven-time NL MVP playing Thursday against the Angels in Tempe, Ariz.
"My wish is for tomorrow," Alou said after the Giants beat Seattle 4-2. "It's going to happen very soon."
Said Giants pitcher Jason Schmidt: "Just let him play. Whatever happened, happened."
"Testing's in place now. If that was an issue before, obviously it can't be an issue now. It's a different game. We're all under the same rules. It's a done deal," he said.
Bonds, who testified before a California federal grand jury investigating steroid use by top athletes, has insisted his accomplishments are purely a result of hard work and talent.
In their book, authors Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams describe how Bonds started using steroids because he was jealous of the attention paid to Mark McGwire's home run race with Sammy Sosa in 1998.
"For whatever one wants to say, from 1998 on we've come as a sport a long way," Selig said, referring to baseball's improved drug-testing policy. "I can only deal with the present and the future."