SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Kris Benson believes he has done enough to nail down the final spot in Texas' rotation, and manager Ron Washington agrees.
"He's one of mine," Washington said when asked if Benson is one of the Rangers' five best starters. "It's more than me making the decision."Benson pitched six strong innings and the Rangers beat the San Francisco Giants 7-5 on Monday. He gave up three runs and six hits, struck out two and walked none.Benson, who has a 4.76 ERA in 17 innings this spring, hasn't pitched in the major leagues since 2006 after rotator cuff surgery."I feel like every time I step on the mound and face hitters it's an audition," said Benson, who missed the 2007 season, pitched 11 Triple-A games last year and signed a minor league deal with the Rangers in February."I've done everything they've asked me to do. I've built my pitch count up to 100. I've made my starts. My velocity is getting up there. I can't do much more. It's up to them."Benson, 68-73 with a 4.34 ERA in seven major league seasons, had his fastball timed in the 89-90 mph range Monday. He threw 79 pitches in the game, then threw 20 more in the bullpen."We always felt he could throw the ball and pound the strike zone," Washington said.With injuries to long relievers Dustin Nippert and Willie Eyre casting doubt on their availability to open the regular season, the Rangers may be best served by making Benson the fifth starter and using Scott Feldman, the other candidate for the rotation, in long relief.David Murphy hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning, and Andruw Jones, Taylor Teagarden and Jeff Smoak also went deep for Texas.Jones, competing with Frank Catalanotto for the final position spot, had two hits. Catalanotto was 1-for-4 and is hitting .333.Juan Uribe homered twice and drove in three runs for the Giants. Fred Lewis had two hits.Matt Cain struck out eight in seven innings for San Francisco, yielding four runs and four hits. He gave up Teagarden's three-run homer in the second inning on a pitch up-and-in."That wasn't even a strike," Cain said. "That was like his love zone."
Giants SS Edgar Renteria (right elbow soreness) missed his second straight game but said he was available. Texas released LHP Jimmy Gobble from his minor league contract. ... Rangers 1B Chris Davis left the game for precautionary reasons with discomfort in his left patella tendon after batting in the fourth inning.