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