Matt Cain’s bullpen cut short on Saturday afternoon

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Cain threw a bullpen Saturday afternoon and it was cut short after fewer than 20 pitches, per CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly. Cain has been day-to-day since leaving Wednesday’s start against the Rockies in the third inning with a mildly strained right hamstring.

While the Giants hope Cain will be ready by Monday, they may have Tim Hudson start again after only throwing 64 pitches against the Rockies on Thursday. Otherwise, the Giants could call on Yusmeiro Petit to make a spot start.

The 29-year-old Cain has a 3.66 ERA and a 39/17 K/BB ratio in 46 2/3 innings over eight starts on the season.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.