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Giants expect Cain to be ready for season

Giants think righty can catch up after having cyst removed
MLB.com

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants believe that Matt Cain can be ready to join their season-opening starting rotation despite having a cyst removed from his right (throwing) arm Thursday.

Cain, 31, will stick with the Giants' original plan and rest for about 10 days before he resumes throwing.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants believe that Matt Cain can be ready to join their season-opening starting rotation despite having a cyst removed from his right (throwing) arm Thursday.

Cain, 31, will stick with the Giants' original plan and rest for about 10 days before he resumes throwing.

"I mentioned this [Thursday] -- I think where he was, coming into camp, how far along he was, he'll get right back into it," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Spring Training: Schedule | Tickets | Information

Nevertheless, projected long reliever Chris Heston's intent to follow a starter's regimen though Spring Training has taken on more urgency. Heston finished 12-11 with a 3.95 ERA in 31 outings, including his June 9 no-hitter against the Mets.

"We'll be prepared just in case [Cain] has to call an audible here, but my gut tells me he can be ready," Bochy said.

Under this timetable, Cain would throw again with a week elapsed in the Cactus League season. He likely would need most of the following week to regain arm strength, meaning that he could be ready to pitch in an exhibition game by mid-March. He'd probably have as many as four starts to prepare for the regular season.

"Matty's going to be a hair behind," Bochy said.

• Right-hander Sergio Romo, who the Giants said they would bring along alowly this spring, threw off a bullpen mound for the first time since camp opened. Bochy, who said that Romo threw 22 pitches, added that the setup specialist will throw live batting practice before he tries to pitch in a Cactus League game.

Video: Renel goes inside the clubhouse to chat with Romo

• The Giants will conduct an intrasquad game Tuesday, one day before the Cactus League opener against the Angels. At least six pitchers will work, one per half inning, during the three-inning affair.

• Major League Baseball announced a few rule changes Thursday morning. One of those changes limits managers and pitching coaches to 30 seconds during a mound visit.

"I'll be doing some sprints in spring; you'll see me on the back field," Bochy joked. "But seriously, that's plenty of time from the time you leave the dugout. I don't see it being an issue."

Video: Bochy on how pace-of-play rule effects mound visits

Ray Black was among pitchers throwing live batting practice Thursday. The hard-throwing right-hander has had a long list of injuries throughout his career and hasn't pitched on back-to-back days since he was drafted in the seventh round in 2011.

However, that will change in 2016. For the first time in his professional career, there will be no restrictions on Black, ranked as the Giants' No. 14 prospect by MLBPipeline.com.

"It's really exciting," Black said. "I'm sure the guys in the bullpen that I'm with are going to be excited, too. They've had to pick up my slack the last two years. I feel fortunate; I'm happy. I'm healthy again for once."

Video: Top Prospects: Ray Black, RHP, Giants

To make up for some of those lost innings, Black finished off the 2015 campaign in the Arizona Fall League.

Although Black initially was hesitant to add to his workload and pitch well into November, he now feels it'll springboard him into a strong 2016.

"I think it actually helped me a little bit," Black said. "I threw later, I didn't give myself quite as much time to rest. In years past, I took a couple months off and it'd be a little bit harder to start throwing again. ... I actually feel a lot better this year with less rest than I had in years past with more rest."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

 

San Francisco Giants, Ray Black, Matt Cain