News not good for Ross, Wilson, Cain

News not good for Giants' Ross Wilson, Cain

News not good for Ross, Wilson, Cain
TEMPE, Ariz. -- A disaster? No. A downer? Yes.

Wednesday was the Giants' most wretched day of Spring Training, and the malaise only partly involved the 8-0 exhibition defeat the Los Angeles Angels pinned on them.

Right fielder Cody Ross left the game in the first inning with a strained right calf muscle. His immediate playing status remained uncertain, pending the results of an MRI.

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Back in Scottsdale in the morning, closer Brian Wilson engaged in what may or may not have been a useful exercise as he tested the strained oblique muscle in his left side by playing catch. Another day passed without the right-hander climbing on the mound, increasing the possibility that he'll open the season on the disabled list.

And No. 3 starter Matt Cain was thumped by Angels hitters for five first-inning runs as he continued his delayed bid to prepare for the regular season.

On the second out of that inning, Ross pulled up lame once he broke for Alberto Callaspo's fly ball, having injured himself while taking his first step. He moved enough to make the catch but left the game immediately.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy related that Ross said he had never endured that kind of injury. "You hate to see it at this time of the spring," Bochy said. The Giants would sorely miss Ross, the Most Valuable Player of last year's National League Championship Series who's hitting .295 in the Cactus League with a .591 slugging percentage.

Bochy declined to speculate who might play right field if a replacement is needed for several days or more. Candidates include Aubrey Huff, who would vacate first base for Brandon Belt; Nate Schierholtz, who replaced Ross against the Angels; and Andres Torres, who would create an opportunity in center field for Aaron Rowand.

Exactly what Wilson did depended on who did the talking. He said he played catch for seven or eight minutes "at a high rate." Predictably, Wilson still believes that he'll build up enough arm strength to be fit to pitch in the March 31 regular-season opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine.

"That's one step forward to becoming healthy," Wilson said of his session. Implying that he threw hard to bullpen catcher Taira Uematsu, Wilson said, "Ask his thumb."

Bochy, however, described Wilson's stint as "real light catch," adding that it "gave us an idea where he's at."

Bochy indicated that the Giants are wary of pushing Wilson to be ready for the opener. "We're running short on time," Bochy said. "This isn't the time to rush Willie back."

Wilson acknowledged that he wasn't physically whole while flashing his renowned wit. "People might think I'm superhuman, but ... correction. I am superhuman. But, realistically, in six days I'm not going to be 1,000 percent. I'm going to be 990. I'm just going to take it day by day."

Wilson, who recorded a Major League-high 48 saves last season and six more in the postseason, insisted that he wasn't worried. He also said that he would follow the instructions of team doctors and management.

"I know my body," he said. "I know what I'm capable of doing. I'm not worried about what other people are thinking. I'm going to do what the doctors tell me and control what I can control. Ideally, everyone would have liked to have me healed the night I was injured."

Cain lasted only three innings in his second Cactus League start since returning from being sidelined for approximately two weeks with inflammation in his right (throwing) elbow. He'll make only one more exhibition start before facing the Dodgers on April 2. But he said that he felt just as strong after his final inning against the Angels as he did at the beginning of his outing, which encouraged him.

Cain said that he felt a "little bit out of rhythm," causing his fastball to veer over the middle of the plate and become hittable. Bobby Abreu yanked one of these 0-2 fastballs over the right-field wall for a three-run homer.

Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.