Notes: Benitez placed on disabled list

Notes: Benitez placed on disabled list

OAKLAND -- The Giants' final roster moves Saturday included a surprise that leaves them with an uncertain bullpen situation for at least the first two weeks of the regular season.

Closer Armando Benitez was placed on the 15-day disabled list with left knee bursitis, a decision that was cemented after the 34-year-old right-hander gave up four runs in the eighth inning of the Giants' 14-3 exhibition loss to Oakland at McAfee Coliseum.

Benitez finished the spring with a 23.48 ERA in seven appearances while struggling with inflammation in the knee, which caused him to sit out more than a week and required a cortisone shot at one point.

Saturday's outing convinced Giants manager Felipe Alou that all still wasn't right, even though Benitez had logged plenty of work over the last week trying to get himself ready for the season.

Alou summoned Benitez into the visiting manager's office soon after the game to inform him of the decision, and Benitez offered no objection.

"I'm OK with it, really, honestly," Benitez said. "I can't come into the game like this. I want to come into the game and do what I always do. [Can I do that] right now? No."

Benitez offered a positive sign of his readiness Friday, pitching a scoreless inning. On Saturday, he said his arm was fine but his windup and mechanics were "terrible."

Alou was convinced that Benitez's DL stay would be a short one -- unlike last season, when he was sidelined for more than three months with a pair of torn tendons in his right hamstring.

"We wanted to give him that time," Alou said. "We're pretty sure he's going to come back and be OK."

While not committing to a definite ninth-inning option in Benitez's absence, Alou continued to tout veteran right-hander Tim Worrell's 38-save season in 2003, before he left the Giants for Philadelphia as a free agent. Worrell was re-signed last offseason to be a setup man, and he would have preferred that Benitez was healthy.

"I'll do what I can to get outs no matter what inning I'm pitching," Worrell said. "But we need Armando back."

More moves: The Giants also made veteran catcher Todd Greene's addition to the Major League roster official Saturday by purchasing his contract.

Their other transactions were as follows: Right-hander Kevin Correia, outfielder Todd Linden and catcher Eliezer Alfonzo were optioned to Triple-A Fresno; infielder Angel Chavez was designated for assignment; and infielder Kevin Frandsen and outfielder Abraham Nunez were reassigned to Minor League camp.

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The Giants kept right-hander Jeremy Accardo over Correia because Accardo, who had a 1.42 ERA in five games this spring, was more accustomed to the bullpen. Correia (2.25 ERA in six games) will join Fresno's rotation.

Cain struggles: Overall, right-hander Matt Cain's outing Saturday appeared to be an extension of his spring slump, as he gave up five runs in five innings.

But after giving up four runs before recording his first out, yielding a pair of two-run home runs, he retired 15 of the last 16 Oakland batters he faced.

Cain still finished with an 11.05 ERA over his final three spring appearances. The good news is now he can worry about his first regular-season start, scheduled for the Giants' home opener Thursday against Atlanta.

"The last three starts were kind of rough," Cain said, "but I learned from it every single time. I'm not going to dwell on it, because I think I learned from every start."

Cain gave up first-inning home runs to Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez before rebounding to strike out the side. His only blemish after that was a solo homer by Frank Thomas in the fourth.

Every Giant who took the mound Saturday suffered through a rough outing. In addition to Cain and Benitez, left-hander Jeff Fassero gave up two runs in the sixth inning and Worrell yielded three runs in the seventh.

More for Bonds: Barry Bonds went 0-for-4 at the plate Saturday, but it might not be his final action of the spring.

The Giants are expected to use the designated hitter in Sunday's exhibition game against the A's at AT&T Park so that Bonds, who is batting .476 (10-for-21) with four home runs and nine RBIs this spring, can get in at least a couple more at-bats.

Bonds said he "felt good" after playing all nine innings Saturday.

Coming up: Right-hander Jamey Wright starts against A's right-hander Joe Blanton in Sunday's 1:05 p.m. PT game at AT&T Park.

Edward de la Fuente is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.