Updates from Monday, Aug. 4
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle updated Matt Cain's status:
Cain to have season-ending surgery Monday in SF. #sfgiants— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) August 4, 2014
Updates from Friday, Aug. 1
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle has the latest on Cain:
Cain likely to have surgery, be done for 2014, Bochy said. #sfgiants— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) August 1, 2014
Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News has more:
Bochy said Cain will be sidelined three months when he has surgery.— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) August 1, 2014
Updates from Thursday, July 31
CSN's Andrew Baggarly has the latest on Cain:
I understand Matt Cain's UCL checked out fine. Dr. Andrews made recommendation on loose bodies in elbow and Giants "are digesting it."— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) July 31, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, July 29
Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News passes along an update on Matt Cain's elbow:
Giants fear with Cain's bone chips has been repeat of what happened to Joe Nathan. Bone chips removed Oct. 2009, Tommy John the next spring.— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) July 29, 2014
95.7 The Game provides an update on Cain's status:
#SFGiants analyst Shawn Estes told us that Matt Cain is getting a second opinion on his elbow from Dr. James Andrews— 95.7 The GAME (@957thegame) July 29, 2014
Updates from Saturday, July 26
Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News has an update on Cain and how this impacted the Giants' thinking in acquiring Jake Peavy:
Sabean said Cain "going to be out a while." That's why he pushed for Peavy yesterday.— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) July 26, 2014
Sabean said Cain not improving, likely going for more tests/second opinion. Wouldn't say if he'll pitch this year, that's up to doctors.— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) July 26, 2014
The San Francisco Giants have placed Matt Cain on the 15-day disabled list, citing inflammation in his right elbow.
The team announced the news on Monday afternoon:
Matt Cain placed on 15-day DL (retro to 7/11) with right elbow inflammation. #SFGiants— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) July 21, 2014
The Giants also revealed that Yusmeiro Petit will start in Cain's place against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday:
RHP Yusmeiro Petit will now start tomorrow against the Phillies in place of Cain. #SFGiants— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) July 21, 2014
Cain, 29, has been dealing with elbow soreness for some time. His last start came on July 9. Manager Bruce Bochy is hopeful that some time off may help Cain get back to 100 percent.
The problem, however, hasn't subsided, giving the Giants no other option but to put the veteran starting pitcher on the DL. As Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News noted, this is his third DL stint of the year:
Third time this season Cain is put on DL. Elbow issue a bit scarier than cut finger, hamstring strain.— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) July 21, 2014
Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com and Pavlovic also reported on the MRI on Cain's elbow:
Matt Cain had MRI that ruled out ligament damage. Had cortisone shot before the break but was still sore when he played catch in Miami.— Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) July 21, 2014
Cain said MRI came back clean. He had cortisone shot during last homestand, can't say for sure when he'll be back.— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) July 21, 2014
Bochy spoke about Cain's status with Baggarly prior to Monday's game:
“I don’t know. I don’t think we know,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It can go down in a day or two. It could linger. I don’t know how it will affect him the rest of the season.”
With $60 million owed to Cain over the next three seasons, with an additional guaranteed $7.5 million buyout on an option for 2018, don’t be surprised if the Giants broach the subject of postseason surgery with him.
“It can be tricky,” Bochy said. “Sometimes it can get to the point when you go in and clean it out. I’m sure with any surgery there’s a risk there.
Baggarly also covered why Cain in particular is prone to elbow problems:
Cain has bone chips or other loose bodies in his elbow, which an MRI discovered in 2010 when he signed a three-year extension. Cain and the Giants originally had sketched out a four-year deal but the club reduced it to three seasons after viewing results of the physical.
Of course, most pitchers who have thrown 1,000-plus innings in the big leagues have something floating around in their elbow. When a fragment lodges in a certain spot, it can cause inflammation or an impingement in which it becomes impossible to fully straighten the arm. Thus far, the Giants have treated the inflammation rather than have Cain undergo arthroscopic surgery, which is always a consideration at the end of a season.
This is obviously a tough blow for San Francisco. Cain has been one of the team's most consistent starters over the past few years. According to ESPN Stats & Info, only Felix Hernandez has had more starts where he's given up one run or less, gone seven-plus innings and still didn't get a win:
Over last 5 seasons, Felix Hernandez has MLB-high 26 starts of 7+ IP, allowing 0 or 1 runs in which he didn't win (Matt Cain 2nd with 20)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 20, 2014
2014 hasn't been his year, though, perhaps in part because of the elbow.
Cain's 4.18 ERA is the worst among starters on the team, and he has just two wins in 15 starts. His 4.59 FIP (h/t Baseball-Reference.com) helps illustrate just how much he's struggled this season.
The Giants will bank on more time off solving the riddle of Cain's balky elbow, but it doesn't take a doctor to see how many pitchers are having Tommy John surgery and realize that his elbow issues are concerning.
With the Los Angeles Dodgers tied with the Giants for the lead in the National League West, San Francisco will need all the help it can get to secure the division. And a lesser Cain is still better than most pitchers the Giants could use in his place.