Bullpen session is final hurdle before Cain returns

Panik hoping to come back for Yankees series but won't rush recovery

Bullpen session is final hurdle before Cain returns

SAN DIEGO -- Matt Cain must pass one more minor test before the Giants finalize he will leave the disabled list and start Wednesday at Boston.

Cain, who allowed nine runs and 10 hits in four innings Friday while pitching for Class A Advanced San Jose against Lancaster, will throw off a bullpen mound Sunday, manager Bruce Bochy said. Afterward, Cain will consult Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti to decide whether he'll be activated.

Cain, who has essentially recovered from an injured right hamstring, poked fun at himself Saturday as he reviewed his 93-pitch effort.

"I got my work in," Cain said dryly. "I got a lot of work in, in a short amount of time."

Cain said he fell behind on the count against too many hitters. Bochy pointed out that Minor League hitters, motivated at the prospect of facing a big league pitcher, tend to capitalize by swinging aggressively.

Panik could return vs. boyhood team

Joe Panik knows he must avoid sentiment and remain practical as he prepares to begin his injury rehabilitation assignment with a five-inning stint for Triple-A Sacramento on Monday.

Bochy said Saturday that Panik also is expected to play Tuesday and Wednesday and might add Thursday to his schedule. If Panik's continued recovery from a concussion has progressed sufficiently after those four games, he could rejoin the Giants for their weekend series against the Yankees.

A native of Yonkers, N.Y., who grew up rooting for the Yankees, Panik didn't hide his desire to perform at the big ballpark in the Bronx.

"You look up and you see the facade that's kind of like the old Yankee Stadium. ... That's kind of what you're looking forward to," Panik said. But, he added, "Your health comes first. When I come back, I want to hit the ground running. I've got to make sure I'm ready to go, brain-wise and vision-wise."

Bochy affirmed Panik won't allow his Yankee Stadium dreams to influence him.

"That won't determine when he's coming back," Bochy said. "He's got to be ready. He said if he doesn't think he's ready, he'll be honest."

Panik, who hasn't played for the Giants since June 27, is batting .256 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs in 70 games this season.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.