Notes: Tomko scratched from start

Notes: Tomko scratched from start

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' starting pitcher for Sunday was scheduled to be Brett Tomko, but that officially changed after Saturday's game. Tomko has been hobbled by a bruise on his right foot that has forced him into wearing a walking boot for the past three days.

"It sounds pretty insignificant, but it's running that's the problem," said Tomko of the bruise that is located underneath his fourth toe.

"I think they put me in [the boot] to calm me down. You don't realize how much walking you really do in a day."

In 21 starts and two relief appearances this season, Tomko is 7-11 with a 4.75 ERA. He was admittedly bothered by the injury in his last start, a loss to the Rockies where he allowed just one earned run in six innings.

"It's a matter of determining the most cautious thing to do," said Tomko, who lost to the Astros in his only start against them this season. "Do we go out and risk it or do we give some extra days off? I'm not quite sure yet.

"I'm going to do whatever [head trainer] Stan [Conte] and them say because I trust them and what they think is best."

Despite the disheartening situation, Tomko was not short of a sense of humor when talking about it.

"I could spike this up and be good to go," he said, pointing to the boot with a smile.

Giants manager Felipe Alou was not sure who would take Tomko's turn in the rotation after Saturday's game, mentioning Jeff Fassero and a Minor Leaguer as a possibility to fill the void.

Benitez throws simulated game: A day after working out with Conte at SBC Park, Armando Benitez was back on the field participating in a simulated two-inning game.

"He's on his way," said Alou. It's only the sixth of August, that's early."

The manager said that Benitez will likely be activated during the early part of the Giants' upcoming four-team, 13-game road trip.

"The next step is in Atlanta where will do something similar to [Saturday]," said the skipper, who hinted that the closer could be back as early as next weekend against the Marlins. "The guy's getting ready to pitch. It's not trying to see how he feels; we're getting him ready to pitch in a game."

Benitez has not pitched since April 26, when he injured his right hamstring while covering first base on a grounder to the right side of the infield. He was later diagnosed with a torn hamstring that required surgery to reattach two tendons.

Last season while with the Marlins, the 6-foot-4 righty was successful in 47 of 51 save opportunities and finished the season with a career-low ERA of 1.29. He signed a contract with the Giants in the offseason for three seasons.

When Benitez does return, it remains to be seen whose roster spot he will take, and Alou admits that it will be a tough decision.

"It's going to be tough to get somebody off of the team, but it will be easy to get him on the team," said the manager.

Sanchez begins rehab: Alex Sanchez is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Fresno on Saturday night. The outfielder has been on the disabled list since July 25 with a sprain in his throwing elbow. The injury occurred July 23 while attempting to throw Miguel Cabrera of the Marlins out at home in the sixth inning.

Events at the park: Saturday was the Giants' ninth annual Dog Days of Summer game. Fans were invited to bring their dogs to the ballpark and walk them around the field before the first pitch. On Sunday, former Giants player and cancer survivor Eric Davis is scheduled to be at the game to support Strike Out Cancer Day. The event is intended to raise cancer awareness. Genentech, the event's sponsor, has pledged to donate $200 to The Wellness Community for every strikeout thrown by a Giants pitcher at SBC Park this season.

On deck: The Giants wrap up their six-game homestand with a Sunday afternoon game against the Astros. It will be no easy task for the team's batters, as they are scheduled to face Roger Clemens, who comes into the game with a 1.45 ERA, lowest in the Majors by 0.81.

CJ Bowles is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.