Notes: Benitez prepared for extra work

Notes: Benitez prepared for extra work

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Armando Benitez not only seems destined to stay with the Giants, but he also could linger on the mound more than anybody anticipated.

Manager Bruce Bochy indicated Thursday that he might summon Benitez as early as the eighth inning to preserve a lead.

"You'd like to keep it an option," Bochy said. And Benitez, who has been challenged to pitch one inning during his injury-wracked pair of Giants seasons, said that he would be more than willing to accommodate Bochy.

"If he needs me, I'll do it," Benitez said after the Giants' 6-0 exhibition loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. "I feel healthy. I feel good. I know he's not worried about it because he knows what I can do. He's been watching me for a long time."

It's increasingly likely that Benitez will continue to be scrutinized in Giants colors. Seattle's interest in acquiring the right-hander has cooled slightly, due to encouraging health reports about Mariners closer J.J. Putz. The Boston Red Sox have all but abandoned the notion of obtaining Benitez, now that Jonathan Papelbon has returned to the closer's role. The Florida Marlins, who have had scouts following Benitez, remain a potential suitor for his services.

Benitez said that if he were dealt, he wouldn't be upset.

"I've been around this business for 13 years," he said. "It would be the fourth time I've been traded.

"But, it would be a mistake."

Thursday, the Marlins scout and the rest of the waterlogged audience at rain-soaked Scottsdale Stadium watched Benitez work the seventh inning and yield his first Cactus League run in five appearances. But Benitez hardly got hammered. Dave Krynzel blooped a single to right field, stole second and scored when pinch-hitter Scott Hairston dribbled a grounder up the middle that second baseman Kevin Frandsen deflected for another single.

Had rain not ended the game in the bottom of the seventh, Bochy said that Benitez would have pitched another inning -- a typical exercise at this stage of the spring for most relievers, not just closers.

Discussing the issue of multiple-inning saves gave Benitez another opportunity to prod his critics, something he has done on several occasions since the start of Spring Training.

"No matter what, nobody appreciates what I've been doing," Benitez said, again noting that he has spent most of the last two years trying to overcome hamstring, knee and elbow ailments. "I'm not trying to sit around and get the money. I like to work. I like to be pitching. I like to win. I hate to lose."

Benitez, who's in the final season of a three-year, $21 million contract, reiterated his intent to prove his value after blowing 12 of 48 save chances in 2005-06.

"You'll see this year what I am. All you guys," he told a small group of reporters. "And you'll say, 'He told me.'"

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Morris sharp: Matt Morris reduced his ERA nearly by half while increasing his effectiveness immeasurably with a six-inning outing against Arizona.

First baseman Mark Sweeney's fielding error helped Arizona amass five unearned runs and four hits in the fifth inning. Otherwise, Morris surrendered just one hit and one walk as he trimmed his ERA from 16.20 to 8.53.

"It's where I should be," Morris said. "I tried to stay back and not overthrow. I think all spring I've been trying to get my velocity and strength back, and it's taken away from my execution."

Bustling Bonds: Bochy had praise for left fielder Barry Bonds, who looked spry and committed despite the dreary conditions.

After singling off Arizona ace Brandon Webb with two outs in the fourth inning, Bonds ran well to third base on Pedro Feliz's subsequent double.

"Even though it's Spring Training, you want guys playing at game speed. That's what he was doing," Bochy said.

Bonds did it again one inning later, making a sliding attempt for Chad Tracy's bases-loaded, bloop single.

"He read it well off the bat. It was a great effort," Bochy said.

Bochy said that Bonds would not play Friday but would return to the lineup Saturday at home against the Chicago Cubs.

Injury update: Infielder Rich Aurilia (strained right groin) isn't overly concerned about his ailment, although he's expected to miss five to seven days. Aurilia, who went on the 15-day disabled list with the same injury last May while playing for Cincinnati, remarked, "This one doesn't feel anywhere near as bad."

Second baseman Ray Durham (tight right hamstring) was scratched from the starting lineup against Arizona as a precautionary measure due to the rain-soaked field. Center fielder Dave Roberts missed his second game in a week with a sprained joint between his collarbone and chest. Both Durham and Roberts probably would have played if it were a regular-season game.

Frandsen started at second base one day after rolling his right foot during an at-bat. Right-hander Sun-Woo Kim reported no complications after a line drive struck him in his right calf Wednesday.

Roster move: The Giants reassigned catcher Justin Knoedler to Minor League camp, trimming their spring roster to 37 -- 12 above the Opening Day limit.

Coming up: The Giants travel to Mesa on Friday to play the first of two consecutive exhibitions against the Chicago Cubs. Left-hander Noah Lowry, whose 6.07 ERA besmirches a 2-0 record, will oppose Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano.

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