Matt Cain's disappointing 2014 campaign is officially over, with the San Francisco Giants starting pitcher set to have season-ending surgery on his injured elbow.
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reported the news Monday:
Cain to have season-ending surgery Monday in SF. #sfgiants— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) August 4, 2014
The 29-year-old has been on the disabled list since July 21 after dealing with lingering elbow trouble throughout the year. His last start of the season was nearly a month ago, July 9, in a 5-2 win over the Oakland Athletics.
As the San Jose Mercury News' Alex Pavlovic pointed out at the time, Cain had been no stranger to the DL, which led many Giants fans to expect the worst this time around:
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
Giants manager Bruce Bochy alluded to the fact that the decision to undergo season-ending surgery is the result of Cain's sustained injury problems. The team was left with no other recourse than to have him go under the knife.
"It’s been frustrating for him," said Bochy, per Pavlovic. "Matt’s been battling this for a while. It’s time. He could keep trying to push it but it’s inevitable, it looks like. Let’s have this done and get him ready for spring training."
This season was Cain's worst in his decade with San Francisco. In 15 starts, he posted career highs in ERA (4.18) and FIP (4.59) and a career low in ERA+ (82), according to Baseball-Reference.com. His WAR was 0.0.
The good news for the Giants is that they have Jake Peavy, who they acquired via trade with the Red Sox on July 26, to take Cain's spot in the rotation. The bad news is that he's gone 17 starts without a win, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Jake Peavy: winless in last 17 starts (0-11, 5.28 ERA in that span)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 3, 2014
In two starts with San Francisco, Peavy has gone 13 innings, giving up eight runs—seven earned—on 10 hits. Now that Cain is officially out for the season, the Giants will be calling upon the former Cy Young Award winner to help close the gap on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West. San Francisco sits two games back heading into Monday night's games.
For Cain, the focus is strictly on 2015. He's not that far removed from being one of the NL's best pitchers. With months to rehab from surgery and get ready for spring training, Cain may be able to find that magic again and reassert himself as a dominant starter.