Giants' Cain in midseason form after two spring starts

March 9, 2012, 11:55 pm
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Almost one year ago, Matt Cain pitched threeinnings in a simulated game, his first action since missing a spring start withelbow problems.On Friday in Scottsdale, Cain threw three innings that werefar from simulated, allowing no runs and striking out four Reds. He allowedthree hits and hit a batter in his brief outing. The Giants projected No. 3starter has a perfect 0.00 ERA through his first two spring starts.Besides working an extra inning in his second appearance,Cain also had a new battery mate in Buster Posey, who made a two-inning springdebut Friday.The pair received quite an ovation as they walked to thebullpen before the game.I thought everyone really loved me, Cain said. Then Ilooked behind me and saw Buster."

While Posey may garner more fan attention, Cain is quietlysetting up to do what he does best: 200 innings pitched and an ERA you cancount on.I felt good today, Cain said. I felt like I had a goodrhythm. I just have to remember that and take it into the next bullpen sessionand keep carrying that over into the season.Coming off a full-season career-low 2.88 ERA in 2011, Cainis looking for a repeat performance in what may be his final year as a Giant.With no news on a potential contract extension, Cain couldbecome a free agent after this season if the Giants cant reach an agreementwith their big right-hander by the end of spring training.But it appears Cain is staying focused on his performance,not his paycheck, and its working. All of Cains pitches, but especially the curveball, were inmidseason form as he worked through the Reds lineup and his manager tooknotice. Cains looked great, Bruce Bochy said. Hes in tremendousshape. Hes throwing the ball well. Solid effort every time he hits the mound,whether its a bullpen or facing hitters. Hes so consistent thats what youlove about him.

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