SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Cactus League games are so meaningless in the big picture that they often end in ties. But the coming week will nonetheless be a big one for the Giants.
Matt Cain (elbow surgery) is scheduled to start Monday’s game and Tim Hudson (ankle surgery) could start Tuesday if he feels strong after a live BP session on Sunday. Sergio Romo (sore shoulder) and Javier Lopez (biceps tendinitis) felt strong during bullpen sessions on Saturday morning and both relievers could make their spring debuts in the coming week.
“It’s going to be good to see them out there,” Bochy said of his injured pitchers.
The starters came into camp on rehab schedules, but Romo and Lopez were shut down before games started. Romo threw a bullpen session Saturday and said he’s “good to go.” After throwing alongside Romo, Lopez said he felt “good, real good.”
Other news and notes from the first hot day of the spring at Scottsdale Stadium …
LINEUP CHANGE: After hitting leadoff in every one of his starts the past two seasons, Angel Pagan moved down to third to clear the No. 1 spot for Nori Aoki. Pagan had a single and a run in his first two plate appearances hitting in front of Buster Posey. It seems more and more likely that this is the way the Giants will go on Opening Day.
TIMMY’S TIME: Tim Lincecum gave up two runs over two innings, one coming on a Wil Myers homer that he said was a fastball that was supposed to be up and wasn’t. Lincecum has allowed three runs in three spring innings but also has seven strikeouts. He said he likes seeing the strikeout number because it proves that hitters are having a hard time with his stuff when it’s down in the zone.
“Things feel good at the moment,” he said. “I’ve got good movement on all my pitches.”
Lincecum embraced “crappy contact” last spring, as he wanted to have quicker innings and mimic Hudson a bit. But he’s still at his best when he’s piling up whiffs, and he said he’d like to get back to the high-strikeout ways this season. Lincecum’s strikeout rate dropped to a career-low 7.7 per nine innings last season.
“I think he’s ahead of where he normally is at this stage of spring training,” Bochy said.
CAMP BATTLE: Jean Machi is making it awfully hard for anyone else to knock him off and win that last bullpen job. Machi threw two perfect innings and has allowed just two hits in four spring innings. Machi is down 15 pounds from a season ago.
“He came in in great shape and he rested up this winter, he didn’t play winter ball,” Bochy said. “We love where he is right now with his arm angle. He’s fresh and he’s throwing the ball great.”
NOTEWORTHY: Aoki, playing right field two days after Hunter Pence got hurt, made an error in the first inning … Surprise, surprise: Pence snuck in for a grueling cardio workout in the morning, less than 48 hours after a cast was put on his left arm … Cody Hall struck out three in the top of the ninth but also gave up a solo homer … Hunter Strickland struck out two, gave up a hit and walked one in his inning of work. Strickland had allowed homers in his first two spring outings.
QUOTABLE: Because Bochy double-switched after Madison Bumgarner came out of the game, Lincecum ended up as the No. 6 hitter (right behind Brandon Belt) when he got an at-bat.
“I was protecting Belt,” Lincecum joked. He put up an eight-pitch fight but struck out.