Morry Gash Associated Press Matt Cain gave up four hits and four runs, all unearned, in the first inning of Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs. He then was removed as a precaution.

Cain takes line drive off knee

Published: Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 - 6:58 pm

MESA, Ariz. – Matt Cain's bad luck continued Sunday.

Just a few days after a Pablo Sandoval liner hit him during a Giants workout, Cain was struck on the side of the right knee by a hard shot off Alfonso Soriano's bat in the first inning Sunday against the Chicago Cubs, who won 4-3.

Cain stayed in the game and said he didn't anticipate missing any time. He also joked he has learned a valuable lesson from the two comebackers and a Hector Sanchez liner that bruised his other leg last spring.

"Maybe I should start using my glove," Cain cracked.

Trainer Dave Groeschner and manager Bruce Bochy ran out to check on Cain after he was hit. Naturally, the next batter, former Giant Nate Schierholtz, hit a slow roller to the right side, forcing Cain to sprint over and cover first base.

"Why wouldn't he?" Cain said, chuckling. "That's the way it always goes."

After first baseman Brandon Belt's throwing error, Cain gave up a three-run homer to Dioner Navarro. He gave up four hits and four runs, all unearned, in the inning.

Bochy said Cain had been scheduled for a second inning of work, but all involved wanted to be cautious, and he was removed. Cain expects to make his next Cactus League start.

"It's nothing to worry about, I don't think," he said. "You've got all the same risks out there. But you've got to go through it full bore like it's the regular season."

Sandoval, who was 2 for 3 with an RBI, is the lone regular to start the first two spring games in the field, and Bochy said that came at Sandoval's request. But before he was inserted in the lineup, the third baseman had to satisfy a request from Bochy.

"We had a deal – he had to get to a certain area (with his weight) before I would play him," Bochy said. "To his credit, he did. He's doing what I've asked, and that's to drop a few pounds."

Sandoval would like to play every day to get his form back for the World Baseball Classic. Bochy said Sandoval has been doing plenty of extra conditioning work the last few days.

Brown impresses – Outfielder Gary Brown made a little noise Saturday when he turned on an inside fastball and scorched a double, showing off his top-end speed.

Sunday, Brown impressed in the field. He had a handful of balls hit over him and handled all of them well on a very windy day.

"He's a gifted outfielder," Bochy said. "He's got good speed, gets good reads."

Posey update – Team president and CEO Larry Baer said the Giants have had casual conversations with Buster Posey's representatives recently, but there is no timetable for agreeing on a long-term deal.

Posey signed a one-year, $8 million deal this offseason, his first as an arbitration-eligible player. He is not eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season, but both sides have indicated a willingness to come to a long-term agreement.

"It's our absolute intention to have Buster signed long term," Baer said.

Catching up with Schierholtz – Now with the most title-starved franchise in sports, Schierholtz, about to receive his second World Series ring, understands he's quite the rarity in his clubhouse.

"I've been told that a few times so far," he said, smiling.

An inconsistent role with the Giants led to Schierholtz looking for a way out last season. He was traded to Philadelphia in the Hunter Pence deal but struggled, hitting one homer in 37 games while battling injuries.

Schierholtz wasn't surprised when the Phillies let him go, and he chose the Cubs after overtures from several contenders.

"It's a great chance to get a lot of time in right field," he said.

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