SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Giants trotted out their closest approximation yet to a potential Opening Day lineup Friday, with cleanup hitter Bengie Molina making his Cactus League debut.

Now the club hopes to begin answering questions about the pitching staff, which appeared mostly set before Noah Lowry's forearm surgery Friday.

Among the new issues:

  • In addition to Lowry, the Giants have another health concern in the rotation. Tim Lincecum will skip his next turn because of a mild groin strain, Bochy said.

    The move is precautionary and Lincecum will throw off a bullpen mound on his scheduled day. But it's a bad omen for the slightly built right-hander, who generates power through his flexibility and long stride. If he is tempted to compensate by overtaxing his arm, he could risk a more serious injury.

  • Manager Bruce Bochy, who hoped to carry just 11 pitchers, acknowledged that he'll probably have to keep 12 as a result of Lowry's injury and the resulting uncertainty at the back end of the Giants rotation.

  • Kevin Correia threw well again in a 3-2 victory over the A's and will open as the No. 4 starter, Bochy said. But Jonathan Sanchez isn't an automatic choice for the final spot.

    Sanchez has lived dangerously up in the strike zone in two Cactus League outings. He will start for a split squad today in Tucson with a slight modification in his delivery, raising his glove to chest level instead of dropping his hands as he begins to load.


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    Brad Hennessey will start for the other squad today at Tempe. While Bochy said there isn't a plan to stretch out Hennessey beyond two innings, the Giants are aware that he wants to start and that he is making progress with his changeup this spring.

  • Right-hander Merkin Valdez continues to press the issue, throwing in the low 90s with much better mound composure and offspeed stuff. If Valdez continues to pitch well, he could absorb a setup role and perhaps make it easier for the Giants to slide Hennessey into a starting or long relief role.

  • At least late relief appears solid. Tyler Walker hasn't allowed a run in his four appearances, and Brian Wilson shined in his first save situation of the spring. Wilson threw all fastballs and cutters as he struck out two and got a ground out to preserve a 3-2 victory. It was the Giants' first in six games at Scottsdale Stadium.

    Lowry recovering

    Lowry was recovering from surgery to treat exertional compartment syndrome in his left forearm. The Giants termed the 15-minute procedure a success and Lowry's agent said the left-hander was in good spirits.

    "He's comfortable with the course that's being taken," Damon Lapa said. "He's feeling a mix of frustration and anticipation. He's thinking, 'Hey, maybe this could go back to the starts when I couldn't repeat my delivery, or couldn't put the ball where I wanted, or had higher pitch counts.'

    "At the same time, he's reserved because you can't predict everything after surgery. The biggest thing is that we're done speculating on what's wrong."

    Lowry, who isn't expected to be ready until late April at the earliest, will be back in Scottsdale today.

    Short hops

    Right fielder Randy Winn fouled a ball off his left knee and could be out for a few days with a contusion. Winn hit a single into the right field corner, and pinch runner Nate Schierholtz replaced him. Winn said his knee was sore but not nearly as bad as the hard foul off his right knee that ended up bothering him for four months in 2006. ... Schierholtz hit a two-run home run to put the Giants ahead in the seventh inning. ... In a signal that he could return to a super-utility role, Kevin Frandsen made his first appearance in the outfield this spring.