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03/27/08 12:15 PM ET

Benson reassigned to Minors camp

Righty to stay in Clearwater, pitch in extended Spring Training

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies right-hander Kris Benson was reassigned on Thursday to Minor League camp, where he will continue his comeback from right shoulder surgery.

Players not on the 40-man roster are reassigned. Benson will remain in Clearwater and pitch in extended Spring Training until he regains the strength in his shoulder to embark on a Minor League assignment.

Benson entered camp with the goal of being ready for Opening Day, though late April or early May seemed more realistic. He felt soreness after a March 15 throwing session and missed starts on March 18 and Sunday. Right biceps tendinitis prevented him from throwing for four days. He has since resumed throwing, but has to make up ground.

Assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. speculated earlier this week that "late May/early June" was a more realistic timetable for Benson to pitch for the Phillies.

Benson signed a Minor League deal in February containing an out clause that allowed him to void his contract if the team didn't add him to the 40-man roster by Tuesday, thus triggering a $500,000 salary. That deadline passed without any movement, with the sides restructuring the deal with a May 15 opt-out date.

In not voiding the deal, the 33-year-old righty affirmed his desire to continue his rehab with the Phillies, especially since he first has to get healthy.

"I'm happy here," Benson said on Tuesday. "I'm feeling good with the clubhouse, the pitching coach and the manager. The winning attitude here, the excitement going into the season, it's a win-win situation from my standpoint. I just want to be a part of their plans and get back healthy."

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