SAN FRANCISCO -- Having pitched effectively in four of five outings, Russ Ortiz insisted that he wasn't concerned about losing his spot in the starting rotation to prospect Tim Lincecum, who'll likely replace him Sunday against Philadelphia. Ortiz went on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with right elbow neuritis. Ortiz's DL assignment was retroactive to Wednesday, making him eligible for activation on May 17. At that point, he expects to rejoin the rotation. "I feel like I've thrown the ball well, so I have a lot of comfort and security in that," said Ortiz (2-2), whose 6.44 ERA is somewhat deceiving. He has allowed three or fewer runs in three of his five starts and yielded two runs in 8 2/3 innings at Pittsburgh on April 13 until Chris Duffy hit a three-run homer.
Ortiz's lone dud occurred Tuesday, when he surrendered eight runs in 3 2/3 innings against Colorado. He began feeling discomfort in his elbow toward the end of that outing. "It felt like it burned a little bit. But it never hurt," Ortiz said. Ortiz, 32, underwent a magnetic resonance imaging examination Wednesday that revealed no structural damage. He also was examined by team orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki. Short term, Ortiz will avoid throwing for at least four or five days while receiving treatment. Ortiz's background bodes well for him, since he has never gone on the disabled list with an arm injury (a stress fracture in his rib cage sidelined him for nearly two months in 2005). So he remained optimistic, although enduring this kind of injury is a novel experience for him. "I feel good that with the rest, there's a very good possibility I won't have to worry about it again," he said. Omar to eighth: As expected, manager Bruce Bochy flip-flopped Randy Winn and Omar Vizquel in the batting order. Winn, hitting .432 in his last nine games, rose to second while Vizquel, batting .221, hit eighth. It marked the first time since June 15, 2001, with Cleveland that Vizquel hit anywhere but first or second. Vizquel, who discussed the move with Bochy on Wednesday, reacted with his usual class. "He's swinging the bat awesome," Vizquel said of Winn, "and it's a shame for him to be hitting eighth when he should be given a chance to be at the top of the lineup. I think it's a good move right now." Vizquel acknowledged that he hasn't been driving the ball, as evidenced by his four extra-base hits in 95 at-bats. But the 40-year-old admitted that he couldn't cite a specific source of his hitting woes. "It's gotta be technical, no doubt about it, because I don't feel I'm swinging the right way," he said. Frandsen's back: Recalled from Triple-A Fresno to fill Ortiz's spot on the active roster, infielder Kevin Frandsen might not necessarily have to return to the Minor Leagues when the Giants summon a pitcher -- most likely Lincecum -- to work Sunday. "I can't be 100 percent on that, but I expect Kevin to be here longer," Bochy said. Bochy even said that he might start Frandsen at second base Friday and give a much-needed rest to Ray Durham, who has started all but one game. Frandsen, 24, made the Opening Day roster and clearly felt stunned when he was optioned to Fresno on April 11 to accommodate first baseman-outfielder Mark Sweeney, who left the disabled list two days later. As his .403 average in 19 games with Fresno indicated, Frandsen quickly adjusted his attitude. "When I got to the ballpark the next day, I realized I was with a bunch of buddies down there, in a good situation with a good team," he said. "I had to get over it and try to make the best of it that day and build on it." Benitez OK: Bochy reported that closer Armando Benitez, who was unavailable Wednesday with a sore right knee, felt "much better" and should be ready to resume pitching. Bochy said that Brad Hennessey, who finished Wednesday's 5-3 victory over Colorado, would suffice as a replacement if Benitez were again sidelined. "We think a lot of Hennessey," Bochy said. "He has all the weapons and the makeup. He'd be a guy you want late in a game." Coming up: The Giants and Phillies continue their series Friday night at AT&T Park. A pair of pitchers with 3-1 records, Philadelphia's Jamie Moyer and San Francisco's Matt Morris, will confront each other.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.