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Notes: Vizquel's bat heating up

Notes: Vizquel's bat heating up

LOS ANGELES -- Omar Vizquel is steadily regaining respectability with his offensive performance.

After spending most of the season batting below .240, Vizquel lifted his average to .256 with a seven-game hitting streak entering Thursday's series finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers. A first-inning single extended the hitting streak to eight games. Vizquel batted .423 (11-for-26) in that seven-game span that was capped by a three-double effort Wednesday.

Manager Bruce Bochy has noticed Vizquel's surge. After batting Vizquel seventh, eighth or ninth in 39 of his 44 starts between May 15 and July 15, Bochy has hit the 40-year-old shortstop second in eight of his last 15 games, including Thursday.

"When we looked at these guys earlier in the season, we said that you have to believe they'll be close to their track record at the end of the season. He's headed that way," Bochy said.

Past performance suggests that Vizquel can sustain his resurgence at San Diego's PETCO Park, the Giants' next stop, where he's a career .275 hitter (22-for-80).

Make it Misch? The Giants haven't officially named their starting pitcher for Saturday's game at San Diego, but all signs indicate that it'll be Patrick Misch, who was 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in six relief appearances with them last month.

Misch joined Triple-A Fresno's rotation after returning to the Minor Leagues and pitched only one inning Wednesday against Oklahoma in what apparently was a glorified between-starts throwing session.

If Misch starts Saturday, it could be a one-shot deal, since Russ Ortiz is scheduled to make what likely will be his final injury rehabilitation start Saturday against Oklahoma. The timing of Ortiz's appearance would enable him to slide seamlessly back into the Giants' rotation.

Gonzo on Lincecum: Dodgers left fielder Luis Gonzalez, who has seen all kinds of pitchers in a Major League career that began in 1990, was suitably impressed by Giants rookie Tim Lincecum's Wednesday performance. Lincecum held Gonzalez hitless in three at-bats while yielding just two hits in six innings.

"He's got all kinds of weird mechanics -- his head and neck going one way -- but he has a live fastball," Gonzalez said. Referring to Lincecum's five walks, Gonzalez added, "He was effectively wild against us. He was all over the place, and then he'd 'paint' one."

Gonzalez remained reserved in his praise of the 23-year-old, however.

"It's still too early to tell," Gonzalez said. "How many young guys have you seen like Kerry Wood? At the same time, he threw well."

Injury update: Infielder Rich Aurilia (right hamstring) said that he probably would need a few days to mend. "I don't think it's as bad as it can be," said Aurilia, who felt his hamstring pull as he slid home in Wednesday's fifth inning.

Second baseman Ray Durham (back) gave a thumbs-up sign when asked how he was feeling, but Bochy still kept him out of the lineup. First baseman Ryan Klesko also was bothered by back pain, resulting in Mark Sweeney's first start at first base since June 15.

Coming up: The Giants head for San Diego's PETCO Park, where they lost two of three games April 9-11. Matt Cain will try to improve his luck against Greg Maddux, San Diego's 340-game winner.

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

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