Giants fans around the world took a sign of relief. Matt Cain bounced back in his first in-game action in more than two weeks by throwing three scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out one. No walks.
The Brewers went on to beat the Giants 12-8.
Cain, who was sidelined with some elbow inflammation, was only slated to throw two innings. But he sailed through the first two innings in 18 pitches, so he went out again in the third. He finished with 43 pitches, 29 strikes.
“I looked like Matty didn’t miss a beat,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Now, the challenge is to get Cain back on course to be ready to start the season.
“I think I’ll be fine,” Cain told the San Jose Mercury News. “I’ve been able to do rotator cuff and (scapula) work even when I wasn’t throwing every four days, so I’ve been able to keep my arm strength there.”
Bochy said that Cain will probably get a 60-pitch count on his next outing, perhaps with an extra day of rest.
If he pitches on four-days rest now, he could get three more spring starts before opening the season on the fourth game of the season. If the Giants feel that he only needs two more spring starts, then he can open the season in the No. 3 spot of the rotation that he was projected in.
On the flip side, Jeff Suppan did not have a stellar outing. Suppan, facing the Brewers for the third time this spring, gave up six runs (five earned) on four hits and two walks in one inning of work. His spring ERA shot up to 6.30.
It’s the kind of outing that may take Suppan out of the running for the final spot in the bullpen. He’s currently battling Ryan Vogelsong, Guillermo Mota and Dan Runzler for that spot.
Here are the other highlights:
AUBREY HUFF: Huff-Daddy was 3 for 3 with two runs and three RBI, including a home run to raise his spring average to .333.
PABLO SANDOVAL: Hit his third home run of the spring. He went 1 for 3.
BUSTER POSEY: Had a double in 2 ABs. He’s hitting .458.
ANDRES TORRES: Tripled for the second time in as many days. He’s hitting .379 this spring.