Ben Margot/APThe return of Matt Cain to the Giants’ rotation following elbow surgery has gone well so far in spring training.

Balls: Bum, Cain and pray for rain? Champs can only hope

OK, let's see now. Staff ace Madison Bumgarner has a 5.65 earned run average this spring. Matt Cain, Tim Hudson, Tim Lincecum, Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong are in the 6.00-plus range. As a team, Giants own a prickly 10-20 record, the worst in the Cactus League.

So the Champs have them right where they want 'em, right?

Uh, they do, don't they?

I've covered enough spring trainings to know they're worth next to nothing. (Quick quiz: Which team had the best Cactus League record last spring?) Spring training is about finding a rhythm, and making sure your wife, girlfriend and/or mistress have tickets at the will call window and being healthy.

Still, this starting rotation thing would concern me a bit, not because of its collective ERA but its individual ages. Hudson (39), Peavy (33) and Vogelsong (37) are on the wrong side of three-oh, well into the back nine of their careers. The 30-year-old Lincecum may have some thread left, but the days of Big-Time Timmy Jim seem like a long, long time ago. That leaves Bumgarner as the only starter who can be counted on at the moment.

That why Cain's most recent start was the best news to come out of Scottsdale, Ariz., thus far, if you ask me. He pitched four innings, and better yet, the 30-year-old brought his drop-dead curveball with him and reported no pain afterward. He gives the Champs their best chance for an effective left-right combination to begin the season. Manager Bruce Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean can figure it out from there.

Bum, Cain and pray for rain? Hey, the champs just might take it at this point.

GREEN SITS, DUBS WIN: Coach Steve Kerr made another wise decision to sit Draymond Green against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night. The official reason was rest, but to avoid trouble was more like it.

It's hard to tell whether L.A. coach Doc Rivers is behind it or not — the educated guess here is that he is — but the Clippers clearly have targeted Green, the most emotional guy on the Warriors' roster, not to mention one of the most valuable. All it takes is a well-placed elbow to set off a brawl, which is the last thing the Warriors need other than a significant injury right now. In Matt Barnes, the Clippers have just the thug to do it. I seriously doubt that Green can be sucked into something that dumb, but in the heat of the moment, mindless things have been known to happen.

Meanwhile, the Clippers and Warriors are on course to meet in the second round of the playoffs. First team to four pins would be the winner.

SPORTS STUBBA HUBBA: The bad news for the Warriors is — what, the Warriors have bad news? — they may be in a different court soon.

StubHub has filed legal action against the Warriors and Ticketmaster, claiming their policy to cancel tickets purchased through it violates antitrust laws. As the largest ticket resale vehicle in the country, StubHub is no small shooter here, either.

It seems the Warriors and Ticketmaster told their season-ticket holders they could not resell tickets anywhere other than on NBATickets.com, of which Ticketmaster has a stake. Fans were warned they might not be able to purchase season tickets in the future otherwise. StubHub claims the partners have unfairly and illegally gained a stranglehold on the secondary market, which has resulted in a reported 80 percent plunge in Warriors ticket sales.

If the anti-competitive actions complained herein are not stopped, Ticketmaster is likely to seek to replicate them with other teams, StubHub said in court documents. As a result, millions of Americans will be held captive to a monopoly secondary ticketing exchange.

This is nothing new for Ticketmaster, which in recent years has faced charges that it conspired to divert tickets to popular nonsports events to its brokerage site, where the same tickets were sold at premium prices. It even incurred the wrath of The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, a few years back.

Balls doesn't blame the Warriors if they want to cash in on the hottest ticket in town. It's just not sure they can control their customers like they have NBA opponents this season.

QUIZ ANSWER: The Cleveland Indians (20-9) won the Cactus League pennant last year. They finished third in the AL Central in the regular season.

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? (A compliment?!?) Send them to pladewski@sfexaminer.com and you may get your name in the paper one day.

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