Outlook: Scutaro has solid average but minimal power

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that Marco Scutaro, who's recovering from an ailing back, has increased his baseball-related activity. But the second baseman might make his first Cactus League appearance later than sooner.

Bochy previously estimated that Scutaro could be in action by the end of this week. Amending that, Bochy said that Scutaro "possibly" could play Sunday or Monday.

"But that might be pushing it," Bochy admitted.

Bochy added that the Giants' batting order, which remains undetermined, will take shape after Scutaro starts playing. Angel Pagan and Scutaro are projected to be the top two hitters in the order. How Bochy arranges Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval remains to be seen.

Cain pitches well in Cactus League debut

LAA@SF: Cain fans Aybar to end the third

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The monotony has been marvelous for Giants starting pitchers, as Matt Cain sustained the rotation's Cactus League dominance in Wednesday's 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Making his Cactus League debut, Cain surrendered one hit and struck out two in three innings. In 17 exhibition innings spanning six games, San Francisco's projected starters have surrendered one run and nine hits while walking one.

"It's early, but you like to see your starters throwing the ball the way they are right now," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Cain said little about his performance, refusing to get overly excited about an early-March exhibition. He admitted that facing opposing hitters was vastly preferable to throwing off a bullpen mound, which he did for two simulated innings last Saturday when rain canceled his scheduled start against the Cubs at Mesa.

"Just to get the competitive edge, that felt good," Cain said.

Relief candidates shine against Angels

LAA@SF: Hembree strikes out Bandy to end game

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. -- Keep an eye on Jose De Paula. Manager Bruce Bochy and the rest of the Giants' decision-makers say so.

De Paula, 26, has made two Cactus League appearances and looked impressive both times. The left-hander was especially dominant in Wednesday's 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels, striking out three batters and allowing a hit in two innings.

"He has been the talk around camp right now with his early success, pounding the strike zone on both sides of the plate," Bochy said of De Paula, whom the Giants claimed off waivers from San Diego last November.

Bochy also addressed the effectiveness of another left-handed reliever, Dan Runzler, who's also unscored upon in two games.

"He's been throwing the ball well, too," Bochy said. "He looks like a different guy this spring and very determined with the way he's been pitching."

But Bochy said the Giants aren't committed to keeping a third left-hander to join Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez in the bullpen.

"When it comes down to making our last couple of choices, we'll go with our best arms and who we think we're better suited to go with," Bochy said.

Another relief candidate, right-hander Heath Hembree, recorded the save by pitching a perfect ninth inning. Hembree thus recovered from a dreadful outing against Oakland last Friday, when he entered the ninth inning with the score tied and generated the A's winning run by walking the leadoff batter, balking him to second base and botching a ground ball before wild-pitching the runner home.

"Great job of bouncing back off what would be hard to find a tougher outing than he had," Bochy said. "He covered every box in screwups. ... That's what you want from your guys, to bounce back and wash those rough days off."