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