SAN FRANCISCO -- Bruce Bochy said before Friday’s Bay Bridge preseason game that, at some point this season, the Giants hope right-hander Matt Cain will reemerge as a solid No. 2 starter behind Madison Bumgarner.
"I think it’s fair to say that as we get into this, I think Matty’ll be the guy that we’ve always known," Bochy said. "We’ll let him go. He’s another horse on the mound, he’ll give us a lot of innings."
At this point, though, the Giants are still being mindful of Cain’s workload coming back from elbow surgery. So Cain departed his final spring start Friday night after just four innings, having thrown 79 pitches.
The good news: Cain held the A’s scoreless over those four innings to go into the regular season on a positive note. The Giants, too, played an encouraging game in light of their poor spring record, beating the A’s, 4-0, behind a three-run, first-inning home run from catcher Buster Posey.
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"I did feel good," Cain said. "I felt strong even through the end of it, which was good. I threw a lot of pitches in a short amount of time and everything kept feeling good, which is a good thing for me."
The challenge for Cain early in the season will be to cut his pitch count down in the early innings so he can go deeper in games even on a shorter leash. Bochy said the Giants will "monitor his workload" early on, and Cain admitted he started to get a little "erratic" nearing the 80-pitch mark Friday night.
Cain said it was odd being on such a truncated pitch count in his final spring outing. But he knows that’s something he might experience in April, and he said the good thing is he feels he’s still getting stronger returning from the surgery.
"They’re probably going to have a little bit of a leash on me I would guess," he said. "But we’ve got guys in the bullpen that can take care of that (early on).
"Pitch count I’d like to probably get higher, but that’s kind of not up to me. These guys know what’s best pitch-count wise, so I’ve got to kind of lean on them."
* Bochy had no updates before the game on Travis Ishikawa (back) other than, "He’s doing better." The decision on whether Ishikawa will start the season on the DL will likely be made Saturday and will affect the decision to carry 12 or 13 pitchers.
* Tim Lincecum will likely work an inning in the Bay Bridge finale on Saturday, Bochy said. Also expected to pitch in the game is Barry Zito, whom A’s manager Bob Melvin wants to give at least one inning at the Coliseum. Bochy said he caught up on Thursday with Zito, who has pitched well with the A’s this spring after skipping last season.
"He looks great, really excited to be back pitching," Bochy said. "He’s got such a passion for the game that I think gets lost with Zeet a lot. He has other interests, guitar, whatever, but he loves baseball, he loves competing, loves pitching, and he’s had a good spring."
Melvin has stayed neutral about Zito’s immediate future. There’s no room for him in the A’s rotation, but Zito has maintained that he wants to pitch this season and be a starter. If no major-league team comes calling, there’s a question of whether Zito would accept an assignment to Triple-A Nashville.
"I don’t want to answer that for Barry," Bochy said. "I’ll say I wouldn’t be surprised. I know he wants to pitch."
* Announced this morning, and then quickly dwarfed by the extensions for Bochy and Brian Sabean, was that outfielder Gary Brown was claimed off waivers and outrighted to the St. Louis Cardinals. Brown was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Justin Maxwell, who will start the season as the Giants’ fourth outfielder.