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04/28/08 10:00 PM ET

Vizquel's rehab going 'a lot better'

Shortstop close to playing in extended Spring Training games

SAN FRANCISCO -- The outlook finally appears to be brightening for shortstop Omar Vizquel, who has been sidelined since undergoing left knee surgery Feb. 22.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Monday that Vizquel, who has been rehabilitating at the Giants' training headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz., is "feeling a lot better" and has been running for the past three days. Vizquel, said Bochy, could begin playing extended Spring Training games by the end of the week. Ideally, Vizquel would play a handful of games in that setting before beginning an injury rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Fresno on his way to returning to the Giants.

The Giants struck out 11 batters on Thursday, earning fans an $11 discount on tickets for Tuesday's game against the Rockies.

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Vizquel, 41, needs to play 14 more games to become the all-time leader in that category among shortstops, passing Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio.

Left fielder Fred Lewis, who had appeared in each of the Giants' 26 previous games and started 19 of them, was out of the lineup for Monday's series opener against the Colorado Rockies. Bochy wanted to rest Lewis, whose hamstrings have nagged him. With left-hander Franklin Morales starting for Colorado, this was an opportune time to give the left-handed-batting Lewis a break.

Lewis entered the game leading National League leadoff hitters in batting average (.379), on-base percentage (.446) and slugging percentage (.652). He was hitting .333 overall.

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