Notes: Illness slowly leaving camp

Notes: Illness slowly leaving Giants camp

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Consulting the daily list of who's out with the flu is more than just a routine for the Giants. It's a nuisance.

Manager Bruce Bochy admitted Sunday that the bug which has spread throughout the clubhouse has been rampant enough to interfere with the Giants' preparations.

"We're getting over it, though," Bochy said, noting that fewer players call in sick each day.

The most significant casualty of the flu has been right-hander Armando Benitez, who's facing a crucial spring. Giants management is believed to be leaning toward trading Benitez, but it can't do so unless he proves that he has recovered sufficiently from his sore knees and can pitch adequately. Benitez is regaining strength and could pitch this week, giving him ample time to demonstrate his ability.

Illness also has hampered right-hander Tim Lincecum, the Giants' top pitching prospect. The flu knocked Lincecum out of his start in Monday's "B" game against the Oakland A's -- which was canceled anyway due to the number of stricken players on both clubs. Lincecum, who said he lost six pounds from his already slender 170-pound frame, is likely to appear in one of Wednesday's split-squad games, against either Seattle or Milwaukee.

Mild arm soreness, not the flu, has prevented left-hander Jonathan Sanchez from appearing in the Giants' first four exhibition games. Sanchez is a key figure in the development of the Giants' staff, since he's a leading candidate to win a bullpen job if he doesn't beat out Russ Ortiz for the No. 5 starter's spot.

"It's nothing to be concerned about," Bochy said of Sanchez's ailment, adding that the 24-year-old also might pitch Wednesday.

Left fielder Barry Bonds and second baseman Ray Durham remained flu-ridden and absent for the second day in a row.

"We have enough games to get them ready," Bochy said. "But it has changed our plans."

Even a few Giants who have returned to the field remain weak.

"It'll be a few days until I feel 100 percent," first baseman Rich Aurilia said, feeling weary after playing six innings in the Giants' 5-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners. "Everybody in here has gone through it."

Renewed perspective: Kevin Frandsen is preaching patience to himself at the plate. Sunday, his approach paid off in a second-inning homer and a two-run, third-inning single against Seattle.

Spring Training
News and features:
• Cain's feeling good:  350K
• Linden's dream comes true:  350K
• Zito's ready to go:  350K
• Vizquel on importance of camp:  350K
• Aurilia feels good to be back:  350K
• Bonds' adventures in LF:  350K
Spring Training info: coverage  |  Schedule  |  Ballpark  |  Tickets

After going 0-for-5 in his previous three games, Frandsen said he worked with hitting coaches Joe Lefebvre and Willie Upshaw on regaining his rhythm and relaxing.

"I was slowing myself down [and told himself to] stop pressing," Frandsen said. "Swinging at strikes, that's the big thing. I'm taking strikes that are pitchers' pitches right now and I'm excited about that."

A career .322 hitter in the Minors, Frandsen batted only .215 in four stints with the Giants last season. Aware that he won't be playing regularly if he makes the Opening Day roster as a utilityman, Frandsen needs better swing maintenance to survive in this role. That's largely what Sunday was about for him.

"I have a better idea of what I need to do to get ready and stay ahead of the game," he said.

Pitching prowess: Starter Noah Lowry worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings before exhausting his pitch limit. He explained that his offseason throwing program helped him avoid the mechanical problems he encountered in his first Cactus League outing last season.

"I don't have to worry about hitting that spot down and away in the offseason, so I can think about staying back and keeping that front side closed," Lowry said.

Sun-Woo Kim, a long-shot contender for the No. 5 starting spot who's more likely to provide depth at Triple-A Fresno, worked two hitless innings. Kim recently left the legion of sick Giants, which concerned Bochy: "I thought he might be a little off today, but he threw really well."

Coming up: The Giants travel to Tucson on Monday to face National League West rival Arizona. Left-hander Barry Zito, who worked two scoreless innings against the Cubs in last Thursday's Cactus League opener, will pitch again for the Giants, opposing right-hander Enrique Gonzalez.

Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.