SAN FRANCISCO -– The Giants aren’t certain that Matt Cain will make his next scheduled start on Monday against the Chicago Cubs, but they are encouraged enough to give it a fighting chance.
Cain saw Dr. Ken Akizuki after the club arrived home Thursday night; he took batting practice, he played catch and he was bounding up the dugout stairs at full speed two days after sustaining a Grade 1 strain of his right hamstring at Coors Field.
“He’s bouncing around here pretty good,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, indicating the club would make a final call on Cain’s next turn on Saturday.
Yusmeiro Petit would start if Cain cannot –- and given that it’s late May, the Giants definitely plan to err on the side of caution. But the club would’ve put Cain on the disabled list if they felt he would miss more than one start, and obviously that isn’t the case.
They’re already dealing with one nicked up starter. Tim Hudson wasn’t sharp while throwing 68 pitches in three innings before a rain stoppage ended his return to the rotation Thursday. Hudson told me his strained left hip wasn’t 100 percent, but the discomfort is manageable and he expects to make his next start Tuesday.
Bochy said Hudson volunteered to return after the first delay, which lasted one hour, 22 minutes. But the manager wasn’t going to push him.
Tim Lincecum could pitch through a dozen delays –- not that any are expected as he takes the mound in a homestand-opening game against the Minnesota Twins. Hector Sanchez will catch Lincecum in part because he has been playing well but also because Bochy wanted to be careful with Buster Posey’s lower back irritation. Posey is at first base in Friday’s lineup.
You might recall that Posey missed the first two games of the series at Coors Field, and when he returned, the rainy conditions and stoppages weren’t ideal for his back. Neither was the collision with Michael Morse as they chased a foul pop.
“Oh, I could see that coming,” Bochy said. “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it could be. I talked to Buster today in the weight room and he says he feels good.”
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Posey has collided with Morse and Paul Goldschmidt already this season. There isn’t an Altuve in that group. Who’s next, Adam Dunn? Jaws from the Bond films? Ser Gregor Clegane?
Joe Mauer is in town with the Twins, and he’s a full-time first baseman now because of multiple concussions. Naturally, Bochy was asked about an eventual move out from behind the plate for Posey. His answer wasn’t really anything new.
“Sure, I think he could, but (GM) Brian Sabean has talked about this,” Bochy said. “We signed him to be our catcher. It’s a very long term deal and on the financial side, that’s what he’s paid to do. So that’s the plan now. Could be have a position change? Sure, but that’s not in the plans right now.”
Finally, I asked several Giants if they planned to ape Hunter Pence’s home run swing Thursday, when he took an emergency hack and still ended up driving the ball over the fence in right-center field.
They’ve all admired the replay several times -– including Pence, who was geared up for a high fastball before adjust as only he can to a high slider.
“I thought it was a beautiful swing,” said Pence, “until I saw it.”