Benson, Phillies reach agreement

The only thing that stands in the way of Kris Benson donning a Phillies uniform is a physical.

The club agreed to terms on a minor league contract with the veteran right-hander Wednesday afternoon. 

If he passes a physical, Benson will join the squad and continue working his way back from the rotator cuff surgery that sidelined him for all of last season.

Phillies scout Chuck Lamar watched Benson throw twice in the past two weeks in private workouts in Atlanta. Benson's agent, Gregg Clifton, said last night that his client was exactly where he needed to be for this time of year, and that he would be ready to pitch opening day. The Phillies, however, sound a little more skeptical. Lamar said Benson is about "60 to 70 percent" right now, and that he still has a few hurdles to climb in his rehabilitation.

"He feels like he's going to be ready opening day; past history will tell you he may need more time than that," Lamar said. "There's a difference between throwing two sidelines in a gymnasium versus getting major league hitters out. He still has a ways to go. He knows that."