SCOTTSDALE — Matt Cain pitched his second productive bullpen session of spring training and is encouraged with each step in his recovery from the elbow surgery that cut short his 2014 season with the reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
He's throwing all his pitches and made about 30 in all Monday.
“Letting it go,” Cain said at Scottsdale Stadium after wrapping up his work on a rainy day in the desert. “Today was 100 percent. Everything felt good. We're taking steps in the right way. The arm's feeling good and everything is going the right way. Now it's just getting the repetitions, getting on the mound a lot.”
Cain is expected to take two days off then throw another bullpen before facing live hitting.
The workhorse of the rotation for years, Cain's season ended in August when he had surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. He was forced into a spectator role for the latest championship run after having a key role in the club's 2010 and '12 titles — and he threw a perfect game on June 13, 2012.
Catcher Buster Posey is impressed with Cain's throwing and his mindset.
“Just talking with him, he seems really happy with the way he feels,” said Posey,
“I know from personal experience coming back from injury there might be bumps along the way. I think that's what the training staff does so well, is they kind of prepare you for that and say, 'It's not going to be a perfect path the whole time.' He seems to be doing great.”
Fellow right-hander Tim Hudson is working back well from a procedure in early January to remove bone spurs from his right ankle, the same one he injured during the 2013 season with Atlanta that sidelined him for the final two months. He is slated for his first mound session of spring on Wednesday, then will likely throw another time before facing live hitting for the first time.
The 39-year-old Hudson is in the second season of a $23 million, two-year deal and has said this will be his final season before retirement. He started Game 7 of the World Series at Kansas City before Jeremy Affeldt and Madison Bumgarner took over to close out the team's third championship in five years.
While Hudson posted his first losing record last season at 9-13 with a 3.57 ERA, he provided a key veteran presence in the rotation, became an All-Star for the fourth time and returned from that serious 2013 ankle injury to make 31 starts over 189 1-3 innings.
“The ankle feels really good. I'm really happy with where it is,” Hudson said. “Now I'm just trying to get my legs up under me. I'm a little behind from a baseball conditioning standpoint. I'm trying to catch up a little bit, but I'm definitely further along than I was last year heading into camp. Wednesday will tell me a lot. Throwing-wise, I feel much better right now than I did last year, which is strange because I feel like I threw more last year. Things are looking up.”
Manager Bruce Bochy himself is still regaining his strength following a heart procedure last Thursday to have two stents inserted. He said he has received numerous messages from friends and people who have gone through it advising him to take it easy for a few weeks and not jump back into rigorous exercise too quickly.
And, to drink heart-healthy red wine.
“The good news is I had a couple of friends from Napa who told me, 'Honestly, we're not giving you enough red wine, so we're going to send you some more,'” Bochy said.
Bochy expected everybody to arrive on time for the first workout Tuesday, including center fielder Angel Pagan, who is so encouraged by his healthy back he told the skipper he is ready to play 160 games. Position players underwent physicals Monday.
NOTES: Former Giants manager Felipe Alou is thrilled to be headed to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame for his contributions as a player, instructor and manager with the Montreal Expos. “I appreciate them considering me for such a nice distinction,” said Alou, who turns 80 in May. … What does Bochy want to see from reliever Hunter Strickland? “A 100 mph fastball, a slider that breaks off the table and a split that's unhittable.” What did Strickland learn in his rookie postseason? “He knows you can't beat up everyone who gets a home run off you,” Bochy said.