PHOENIX — Tim Worrell was supposed to build a bridge to the closer, but Armando Benitez has gone over a few potholes, and Worrell has been out of commission almost as long as Devil's Slide.

Worrell rejoined the Giants on Monday, but only because the team came to him. He lives in the Phoenix area and has spent plenty of time there this season because of a disabling nerve and disk condition in his neck.

While Worrell isn't considered done for the season, it would be a major upset if he returns to competition at any point during the stretch run. The real question is whether the Giants should expect to get anything out of Worrell in 2007, when he will be paid $2 million.

Worrell still hasn't picked up a baseball since going on the disabled list for a second time June 23. He has shown marginal improvement since that time, but surgery is not being actively discussed as an option, trainer Stan Conte said.

"You want to exhaust all the conservative options first," said Conte, adding that it's hard to predict or guarantee results from upper back and neck surgeries.

If the 39-year-old veteran continues to have neck issues at the end of the year, Conte said the medical staff would "revisit the idea of surgery."

OMAR SIZZLES: Omar Vizquel singled in the first inning Tuesday to extend his hitting streak to eight games. Over the previous seven, he was hitting .552 with two triples and three doubles in 29 at-bats.

But it can't be forgotten that Vizquel batted .204 last September. The year before, his last with the Indians, he hit .188 in September.

He has been the Giants' most consistent hitter all season, and another September dive would be a huge blow to the team, but manager Felipe Alou doesn't believe the veteran shortstop will bottom out again.

"He knows the league better," Alou said. "He knows the parks and the (hitting) backgrounds."

SCHMIDT VS. MADDUX: As if this weekend at Dodger Stadium wasn't already shaping up as a huge series, the pitching matchups will add even more intrigue. Matt Cain will face Cy Young candidate Brad Penny on Saturday, and Jason Schmidt will face newly acquired Greg Maddux in the series finale Sunday. On Friday, Noah Lowry faces Mark Hendrickson in a battle of left-handers.

ONE-HOPPERS: Minor league catcher Guillermo Rodriguez was held out for four days after he suffered a mild concussion on a foul tip to the mask. The Giants medical staff has overhauled its handling of all catchers in the organization following Mike Matheny's season-ending concussion. ... Center fielder Steve Finley has not hit a home run since June 25 and has two RBIs since the All-Star break, but is expected to start today. ... Finley and Todd Greene were shown on the "Kiss Cam" between innings. Finley tried to back away as Greene landed one on his cheek.