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02/27/11 8:28 PM EST

Mays, Bochy tip cap to Snider

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy knew that he was in the presence of greatness when he met Duke Snider for the first time several years ago.

"It's like you're meeting a god, a baseball hero for all of us," Bochy said Sunday after Snider, the Hall of Fame outfielder, died at age 84.

Giants legend Willie Mays, who formed New York City's matchless triumvirate of multitalented center fielders with Snider and Mickey Mantle in the 1950s, paid tribute to his contemporary.

"Duke was a fine man, a terrific hitter and a great friend -- even though he was a Dodger," Mays said in a news release on the Hall of Fame website. "It was great playing center field in New York in the 1950s along with Mickey and Duke. I have wonderful memories of that. Duke and I played on some All-Star teams together and even on the same Giants team the last year he played and today I feel that I have lost a dear friend. He was a hero to the fans in Brooklyn and a great Dodger."

Cain comfortable in Cactus League debut

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Matt Cain wasn't quite as sharp Sunday as when he last appeared in a Major League game. But he still showed flashes of his now-familiar dominance.

Making his first Cactus League appearance of the spring, Cain yielded three singles in two shutout innings as the Giants lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks, 4-3. Cain stranded a runner at third base in the first inning and allowed a pair of two-out hits in the second before left fielder Pat Burrell battled the sun and the bullpen fence to make a deft catch of Gerardo Parra's foul fly.

Cain, who pitched 21 1/3 postseason innings without allowing an earned run last October, looked and felt smooth.

"It's always nice to be able to find that good groove early, pitching to both sides of the plate [and throwing] off-speed to both sides of the plate," he said.

Catcher Buster Posey confirmed what looked obvious.

"He commanded his heater really well," Posey said.

Sanchez, Wilson nearing spring debuts

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Barring physical setbacks, Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez could make his first exhibition appearance as early as Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs.

Sanchez, who underwent left shoulder surgery last December, passed a significant test Sunday when he took batting practice against left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, who's recovering from a mildly injured left hamstring. Asked about playing Tuesday, Sanchez said, "That's my goal."

Right-hander Brian Wilson (back stiffness) will throw off a mound Monday, which could be his final tuneup before he begins participating in exhibitions.

Backup catcher Eli Whiteside (right elbow) has started playing catch and appears to be progressing toward active duty.

"We're finally getting some progress from Eli," manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's big for us. He needs some playing time."

Shortstop Miguel Tejada was struck on his right middle finger by Willie Bloomquist's bad-hop single in Sunday's first inning, but remained in the game and said afterward that he felt fine.

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