Tag: Matt Cain

Matt Cain Injury: Updates on Giants Star’s Hamstring and Return

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain can’t seem to shake the injury bug, as he is once again on the shelf after suffering a hamstring injury.

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More Hamstring Trouble for Cain

Tuesday, June 14

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle noted a right hamstring strain will send the pitcher to the disabled list. 

After missing much of the 2014 and 2015 seasons, Cain has struggled to stay healthy thus far in 2016.

The 31-year-old righty suffered a hamstring injury in May when he finally seemed to be coming around, and now his durability concerns have arisen for the second time this season.

Cain is a former three-time All-Star, but injuries and inconsistency have prevented him from returning to that level in recent years. Since posting an ERA of 3.14 or better every season from 2009 through 2012, he hasn’t had an ERA below 4.00.

So far this season, Cain has put up a 5.34 ERA in 57.1 innings pitched. 

Entering the 2016 campaign, Cain hadn’t started more than 15 games in a season since 2013. He made at least 30 starts every year from 2006 though 2013, but his workhorse status has dissipated and may never come back.

Cain’s decline has certainly hurt San Francisco’s pitching depth over the past few seasons, but it is currently better equipped to deal with it than ever before.

Even if Cain is forced to miss some time, the Giants are stocked with high-quality arms, including Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Jake Peavy.

A healthy and productive Cain is a luxury the Giants would undoubtedly love to have, but they have proven capable of winning games and excelling without him.

One thing his injury does is put pressure on the other starters to remain healthy, but there isn’t much they can do other than take the mound every fifth day and give the Giants a chance to win.

Cain did precisely that for much of his career, but that hasn’t often been the case over the past few seasons.

Although a healthy Cain would be a major coup for the Giants, they figure to remain one of the teams to beat in the National League regardless.


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Matt Cain Injury: Updates on Giants Pitcher’s Hamstring and Return

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain exited his start against the Colorado Rockies in the second inning Friday after suffering a hamstring injury, and the team has subsequently placed him on the disabled list. It’s unclear when he will return.

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Latest on Cain’s Playing Status

Saturday, May 28

Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reported the Giants recalled Chris Stratton from Triple-A and placed Cain on the disabled list.

Injuries Slowing Cain Late in Career

Cain was once a pillar of consistency. Between 2006 and 2013, he made an average of 32 starts and pitched 209 innings per season. But he started just 26 games in 2014 and 2015 combined.

In August 2014, Cain had bone chips removed from his right elbow, and the recovery process affected his preparation for the 2015 season. Compounding his bad luck, he then suffered a right flexor tendon strain, which delayed his first start of the year to July 2.

Giants fans likely wondered whether this was going to be another one of those seasons after doctors removed a cyst from Cain’s throwing arm in February. However, the right-hander had remained injury-free until Friday.

Leaving aside his health issues, it’s fair to wonder how good Cain can be at this point in his career. His ERA climbed to 4.00 for the first time in seven years in 2013, and his next two campaigns were worse. He had a 4.18 ERA in 2014 and a 5.79 ERA in 2015.

Through nine starts in 2016, he is 1-5 with a 5.37 ERA.

After Cain finished sixth in National League Cy Young Award voting in 2012, it looked as though he could become the ace of the San Francisco staff. But that hasn’t happened.

As Cain will miss his next few starts, manager Bruce Bochy might reinsert Chris Heston in the rotation. Heston made four appearances out of the bullpen in April before being demoted, but he made 31 starts last year, going 12-11 with a 3.95 ERA.

Clayton Blackburn could be another option after he put together a strong season in Triple-A in 2015.

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Matt Cain’s Resurgence Yet Another Weapon for Streaking Giants

The San Francisco Giants were coming up short for a while there. After going into 2016 amid loads of hype, they were under .500 as recently as May 10.

But all of a sudden, the Giants are making it look suspiciously like an even year.

It took a confrontation with reigning Cy Young winner/freak of nature Jake Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs Friday at AT&T Park to snap the Giants’ eight-game win streak. But they got right back in the proverbial driver’s seat Saturday, beating the Cubs 5-3 to run their record to 26-19. 

That’s one bit of good news for the Giants. The other bit of good news is that an old standby is beginning to resemble his old self for the first time in a long time.

Matt Cain was the Giants’ biggest contributor in Saturday’s win, clubbing a two-run double and stifling the Cubs’ high-powered offense with six one-run innings. That’s now three strong starts in a row for the veteran right-hander, as he allowed only three runs across 15 innings in his previous two. 

Like that, an ERA that was a problematic 7.84 is now down to a considerably less problematic 5.37. And quite possibly even falling further.

There’s certainly no ignoring that Cain’s recent travels have been fraught with peril. He was terrific (and literally perfect one time) in posting a 2.93 ERA between 2009 and 2012, but he managed just a 4.37 ERA and struggled with injuries between 2013 and 2015. After having surgery on his arm during spring training and then getting off to a slow start, it seemed like 2016 was going to bring more of the same.

Things seem different now. Asked to explain what Cain has found in his last couple of outings, Giants skipper Bruce Bochy theorized the big change has been a mental one.

“His bullpens have been fine, and his pregame warm-ups,” Bochy said after Cain silenced the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 15, per Andrew Baggarly of the Bay Area News Group. “In the game, it just wasn’t going well for him. I think he’s realizing, ‘Hey, I’m fine, and my stuff is great. I’m healthy.’ It’s all about the confidence now that he’s settled in with.”

The most noticeable difference is in how aggressively Cain is going right at hitters. He was throwing first-pitch strikes 62.1 percent of the time in his first six outings. He upped that to 70.7 in his next two and kept it going with first-pitch strikes to 18 of the 25 Cubs (72 percent) he faced Saturday.

That’s one way to snap out of a slump, but it never hurts to also have better stuff. Though data for Saturday’s outing isn’t available yet, Baseball Savant reveals that Cain’s average spin rates this season break down like so:

  • First 6 GS: 2,437 rpm
  • Next 2 GS: 2,526 rpm

It’s going to take more than just three starts for a definitive conclusion to form, but Cain’s resurgence doesn’t appear to be well-timed good luck playing a trick on the Giants. He’s pitching like a guy who wants to be a weapon again.

And at the thought of that, you can almost hear the rest of the National League letting out a groan.

For the competition, the thought of the Giants having another weapon in their starting rotation alone is distressing enough. This is, after all, one of only two rotations in the league that features three qualified starters with ERAs 2.70 or under.

That’s the trio of Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. The Giants knew what they were going to get from Bumgarner this year, and they’ve gotten even more than they bargained $220 million for out of Cueto and Samardzija. They’ve been worth every penny and then some.

“They’re definitely the catalyst,” right fielder Hunter Pence said this week of the club’s star-studded rotation, per John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. “It makes you look really good when your starting pitching is doing that kind of exceptional work. It’s not to be taken lightly but enjoyed.”

The Giants lineup isn’t too shabby in its own right. All the key figures from an offense that finished fourth in the National League in OPS in 2015 are back. And though the 2016 offense has been guilty of starting and stopping, it could soon get going for good. Pence and Brandon Belt are having terrific seasons, and Brandon Crawford and Denard Span are showing signs of life.

So is Buster Posey. After narrowly missing a home run Friday, he definitely didn’t miss against Jon Lester in Saturday’s game:

Where things aren’t all happiness and sunshine is in the Giants bullpen. Following yet another home run served up by Santiago Casilla, it now has a 4.01 ERA that ranks in the bottom half of the league.

It’s a bit soon to say the sky is falling, though.

The Giants bullpen’s collective ERA is skewed by some especially bad performances by Vin Mazzaro, Chris Heston and Mike Broadway. With a 2.04 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 17.2 innings, even Casilla is doing well despite the home runs. And with Chris Haft of MLB.com reporting right-hander Sergio Romo is close to returning from a strained flexor tendon, the Giants bullpen is about to get a key piece back.

That is to say, the Giants may not be far from pretty much having it all. Cain’s return to effectiveness means their rotation is about more than just its three best guys. The starters are backed by an offense with plenty of potential and a bullpen that could soon be stabilized. 

As it is, the coming-together process the Giants are undertaking has already been good enough to put them atop the NL West. Coming into the year, that’s where they expected to be sooner or later.

And from the looks of things, they mean to stay there.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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Matt Cain Injury: Updates on Giants Star’s Recovery from Arm Surgery

Matt Cain‘s struggle to remain healthy continues, as the San Francisco Giants right-hander is dealing with more arm problems early in spring training. It is uncertain when he will be able to return to action.

Continue for updates.  

Cain Comments on Recovery Timeline

Saturday, Feb. 27 

According to Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area, Cain told reporters he’s “confident” he’ll be ready for the season. He added the cyst he’d had removed was just above his elbow and ruptured.  

Cain Had Cyst Surgically Removed

Thursday, Feb. 25

According to Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Cain had a cyst removed from his right (throwing) arm and will not start throwing again for 10 days. 

Per Pavlovic, the Giants said it is “too early” to know if Cain will be unavailable when the regular season starts on April 4 at Milwaukee

Cain’s Production Has Declined as Injuries Have Mounted

Once one of the most durable pitchers in baseball, Cain has fallen off a cliff since 2014. From 2006-13, the former All-Star made at least 30 starts per season and threw at least 184.1 innings. He had surgery to remove bone chips in his pitching elbow in August 2014. 

The 31-year-old started 2015 on the disabled list with a forearm strain, not debuting until July, before going back on the DL in late August with nerve problems in his right elbow. He’s made a total of 28 appearances over the past two seasons. 

There was a time when Cain’s absence would have devastated the Giants, but Madison Bumgarner is the team’s unquestioned ace. The front office also bolstered the rotation this offseason by signing Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto to give them a strong trio heading into 2016. 

A healthy, productive Cain would be a huge boost to the Giants, but given his injury problems the previous two years, all they should reasonably hope for is that he can avoid the disabled list. 

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Vintage Matt Cain Would Have Dodgers Looking Up at Giants in NL West Race

The San Francisco Giants spent $220 million on Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto this winter. And they have Madison Bumgarner, tree-chopping stud and postseason demigod.

The key to the Giants rotation, however, and the piece that could push them unequivocally past the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West might be the man penciled in as the No. 5 starter.

That’d be Matt Cain, former workhorse and current enigma.

Right now, Cain is the guy who hasn’t posted a sub-4.00 ERA in any of the past three seasons. He’s the guy who had bone spurs removed from his elbow in 2014 and made just 11 starts last year after suffering a forearm strain in April.

On the other hand, he’s still just 31. And Giants fans don’t need to chase their garlic fries with ginkgo biloba to recall the run of success that made Cain one of the most consistent right-handers in the game not so long ago.

After debuting in 2005, Cain eclipsed 200 innings every season between 2007 and 2012, posting ERAs under 3.00 in three of those campaigns and making three All-Star appearances. Along the way, the Giants won a pair of their recent trio of titles, and Cain authored a perfect game for good measure.

Tim Lincecum commanded more attention with his flowing locks and unorthodox mechanics, but Cain was the backbone of San Francisco’s starting five for the better part of a decade.

Now, he’s in camp searching for answers and, more importantly, the results that once came so readily.

Cain said of his recent struggles, per Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News:

I’ve had long nights thinking about that one. I don’t know exactly what was keeping me from being consistent and making the pitches I wanted to make most of the time. I couldn’t tell you if it was something physical or something mental or if the wind was blowing the wrong way. But it was something that happened a lot and it was tough to go through, and the big plan is to be able to get past that.

Plans are one thing, execution is another. Everyone is in the best shape of his life and on the right track in late February (OK, not everyone). But Cain is now far enough removed from his salad days for the questions to become darker.

Like: Can he be an elite or even effective big league pitcher ever again?

Velocity isn’t the problem. In 2012, his last good season, Cain’s fastball averaged 91.1 mph, per FanGraphs. Last season, his average heater clocked in at 91.0 mph, while his ERA ballooned to 5.79. His issues, in other words, might be related to rust more than stuff.

There are case studies that point toward optimism, as McCovey Chronicles’ Grant Brisbee outlined:

Let’s look for pitchers who came back with a second stage of their careers, then. [Ryan] Vogelsong is an outlier, but he’s near and dear to our hearts. John Lackey isn’t quite so near and dear, but he was the most hated pitcher in Boston when he was Cain’s age. Three seasons later, he helped the Red Sox win a World Series. Three seasons after that, he picked up stray Cy Young votes. He was buried much deeper than Cain and he wasn’t as good in the first place. Edinson Volquez was waiver fodder for years before being a Game 1 starter again.

Pitchers come back from all sorts of calamity.

More often, they don’t. That’s the wet blanket. If you’re playing the odds, Cain will never again pitch like a No. 1 or anything close to it. FanGraphs projects a 4.35 ERA in 121 innings in 2016, while Steamer is a tick more optimistic, foretelling a 3.90 ERA in 130 innings.

Either one, or a split-the-difference stat line, would be perfectly palatable for a fifth starter. But what if Cain finds a way to wind back the clock? How scary would this already formidable Giants team become as it embarks on yet another even-year run?

Let’s assume Cueto and Samardzija both stay healthy and get boosts from the Giants’ stellar defense and pitcher-friendly park. Let’s say Bumgarner once again does Bumgarner things. And let’s stipulate veteran Jake Peavy has another year of effective grinding left in his arm. 

If Cain kicks in anything, that’s a strong rotation. And there are options behind him, including sophomore sinkerballer Chris Heston, who tossed a no-hitter last season.

But if Cain returns to All-Star level? You’re talking about easily the deepest, scariest starting five west of Queens.

Pair that with San Francisco’s balanced lineup littered with homegrown contributors, and Los Angeles’ run of three consecutive division titles is threatened, if not doomed.

The Dodgers boast plenty of talent. They’re baseball’s biggest spenders, after all, and while they lost Zack Greinke to the Arizona Diamondbacks, they could fill the void with Japanese ace Kenta Maeda and the return of Hyun-Jin Ryu, who missed all of last season with a shoulder injury.

Right now, the storied bicoastal rivals are neck and neck, with those Greinke-swiping Snakes coiled in the weeds. The NL West race could well turn on a comeback performance or larger-than-expected contribution from someone.

Every team can point to at least one player who potentially fits the bill. For San Francisco, it’s Cain. If he has a genuine renaissance in him, it could be bigger than any offseason addition.

The workhorse, in other words, has become the wild card. The question now is, can he be an ace?


All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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San Francisco Giants: Biggest Storylines at the Start of the 2015 Season

The San Francisco Giants have won three of their first four games. In traditional Giants fashion, all of the games have been close, tightly contested contests.

In recent history, the Giants have excelled in these types of games. They have a quiet confidence that is perpetuated by manager Bruce Bochy.

Arguably, the most exciting development for the Giants is that Madison Bumgarner looks strong and is poised to lead the San Francisco pitching staff. In his first start since his incredible performance to close out the Kansas City Royals in the World Series, Bumgarner looked in top form.

Bumgarner threw seven strong innings, allowing six hits and a walk and striking out three batters. He allowed only one run and earned his first victory of the season.

In addition to Bumgarner’s stellar performance, there have been several other major developments already this year.

The Giants opened the season with Hunter Pence and Travis Ishikawa on the disabled list. Unfortunately, additional injury concerns have hit the club in the first few days of the year.

Let’s take a look at the biggest developments of the 2015 season, thus far.

Begin Slideshow

Matt Cain Injury: Updates on Giants Star’s Forearm and Return

Matt Cain just can’t catch a break.

After being lost for the season midway through the 2014 campaign, the San Francisco Giants ace is once again dealing with an injury. 

Continue for updates.

Cain Placed on DL 

Tuesday, April 7

Cain has been placed on the disabled list retroactive to April 4, per MLBRosterMoves on Twitter. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle added:

On April 6, Schulman reported that Cain is dealing with forearm tightness.

After the Giants’ 5-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cain provided more information, via Schulman:

Manager Bruce Bochy said it’s a “two-week thing”, and that it’s not serious, per Schulman. Bochy also confirmed that Chris Heston will start in his place on April 8th, according to Schulman

Cain, 30, appeared in just 15 games last season, finishing 2-7 with a 4.18 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and 70 strikeouts in 90.1 innings pitched. He was already coming off of a disappointing 2013 season that saw him finish 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 158 strikeouts in 184.1 innings pitched, hardly the form that saw him establish himself as one of the better pitchers in the National League.

Getting him back certainly seemed as though it would give San Francisco a dangerous rotation, the last thing the other teams in the National League wanted to see after the Giants won their third World Series in five years last season, largely on the back of ace Madison Bumgarner. 

Now, the Giants will be hoping Cain’s absence isn’t a lengthy one and that he can quickly return to the form that made him a three-time All-Star earlier in his career. If Cain gets healthy and returns to ace status, the Giants are going to be tough to beat.


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Matt Cain Injury: Updates on Giants Star’s Ankle Surgery and Recovery

An already rough 2014 season just got worse for Matt Cain.

The San Francisco Giants, via Amy Gutierrez of CSN Bay Area, announced that the veteran starting pitcher, who was already recovering from an elbow injury earlier in the year, had surgery on his right ankle:

MLB.com’s Chris Haft reported that the ankle surgery shouldn’t create an issue Cain’s original offseason recovery plan. The 29-year-old is set to begin throwing again in December, so if all goes according to plan, he’ll have fully recovered from the ankle problem in time.

Cain’s numbers were the worst they’ve ever been in his 10-year career. In 15 starts, he posted a 2-7 record and a 4.18 earned run average. His FIP was even worse, at 4.58, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

In a way, the ankle injury came at a perfect time, since Cain was already on the shelf. The Giants knew they couldn’t count on him anyway for the postseason. In addition, the injury shouldn’t overlap with his pre-planned offseason regimen.

San Francisco will continue to keep its head down, having secured a wild-card berth. The team will play in the one-game playoff to earn a spot in the 2014 NLDS.

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As Bochy Works to Put Pieces Together, Giants Will Live or Die with Pitching

SAN FRANCISCO — One night after Madison Bumgarner lit up AT&T Park by taking a perfect game into the eighth inning, Tim Hudson was electric. Stretch-run energy buzzed through the Giants clubhouse in that old, familiar way.

“This is the fun time of year,” Buster Posey said after blasting the second walk-off homer of his career. “We’re fortunate to be fighting for the division.   

“A lot of us know what we’re capable of doing if we do get into the playoffs.”


But this is a tricky team to decipher, one of the most difficult to peg of manager Bruce Bochy’s 20-year managerial career.

“I’d say so,” Bochy agreed in that gruff, bear-like voice that has directed so many past winners.

No doubt, key injuries have derailed the Giants. He might not be a marquee name nationally, but it is no coincidence that San Francisco’s swan dive from those heady days of leading the NL West by 9.5 games (June 8) coincided with leadoff hitter Angel Pagan’s two-month absence with a back injury.

Brandon Belt’s frequent trips to the DL, Hector Sanchez’s concussion and the Giants’ decision to not add significant payroll at the trading deadline this year have opened some holes and limited their ability to plug others, stretching a thin lineup to the point of breaking.

But where the old Giants magic is really lacking is on the mound, with Matt Cain out for the season, Tim Lincecum in a funk, Sergio Romo barred from closing and a rotation that is tied for eighth in the NL with a 3.68 ERA.

Bottom line: Unlike the old days here, San Francisco’s pitching is no longer good enough to cover lineup shortcomings.

Which is why this week’s hit parade of Bumgarner, Hudson and Yusmeiro Petit, who set a major league record by retiring his 46th consecutive hitter Thursday afternoon, at least offered encouragement.

“It’s been a roller coaster, no question,” said Hudson, 39, now 9-9 with a 2.90 ERA. “Anytime you lose one of your top rotation guys.”

“He gets that blood-in-the-water sensation whenever he gets a lead,” reliever Jeremy Affeldt said of Cain. “He’s not going to lose it.”

The Giants staff has already lost enough this season.

Cain has been as big a fixture at AT&T as that ginormous Coca-Cola bottle beyond the left field stands. He made 30 or more starts in eight consecutive seasons before he had to pull the plug this summer after 15. Surgery to remove bone chips and have some bone spurs cleaned up was done earlier this month. Given his workload over the years, it could have been worse. Much worse.

As for Lincecum, the Giants should be deeply concerned with him given his 9.49 ERA over his past six starts. Everybody agrees a time out is in order.

“Just trying to take it slow,” Lincecum said. “Day by day and see where it goes.”

The immensely likeable Lincecum can be easily derailed, which is leading some to wonder whether the absence of Sanchez, who likely is out for the season with a concussion, has sent him spinning off his axis. Remember, it took Lincecum a bit to gather his wits when the Giants traded one of his favorite catchers, Bengie Molina, in 2010 to clear space for Posey.

“It’s a good question,” Bochy said of the Sanchez-Lincecum connection. “It’s a hard one to answer because I know Tim got used to throwing to Hector. Nothing against the kid, [Andrew] Susac, who has done a nice job. But whether that did play into a part of Tim’s struggles, I don’t know.”

It is not the only mystery Bochy and the Giants must solve. The phenomenal pitching that carried them to World Series wins in 2010 and ’12 is fading. This year’s rotation, as noted, is tied for eighth in the NL in ERA after finishing 13th (4.37) in 2013.

That may be an improvement, but from ’09 to ’12, Giants starters never ranked worse than fifth in the league, and they ranked either second or third in three of those four seasons.

Still, as of Thursday, the Giants are a playoff team. Though they trail the Dodgers by 4.5 games in the NL West, they doggedly cling to the NL’s second wild-card slot, 1.5 games ahead of the Braves.

This is all part of why Posey uses the word “fortunate” when describing his team’s positioning right now.

Veteran Jake Peavy was acquired from Boston to pitch. With Cain out, he’s a necessity. Petit has replaced Lincecum in the rotation—for how long, Bochy cannot yet say. He simply doesn’t know. The veteran manager, whose 1,600th career win Wednesday moved him past Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda to No. 19 on the all-time list, has had success in the past shuffling the rotation with guys such as Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong.

“When you get diminishing returns, you’ve got to change it up,” Bochy said, and so he has.

Scouts were still raving about Bumgarner’s dominance a day after he throttled the Rockies. Hudson, Petit…things are beginning to perk back up around San Francisco. Every day left on the schedule is another day for the Giants to minimize the damage done by their 10-16 June, 12-14 July and their 12-24 record over their past 36 home games.

As Affeldt said, “Baseball can turn around in a hurry if you don’t tuck your tail between your legs. If you get knocked down seven times, you’ve got to get up that eighth time.”


Scott Miller covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report. He has over two decades of experience covering MLB, including 14 years as a national baseball columnist at CBSSports.com.

Follow Scott on Twitter and talk baseball @ScottMillerBbl.

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Cut Forces Matt Cain to DL, but Don’t Expect Much Time Off from Giants

Missing any time is frustrating to Matt Cain, but the San Francisco Giants are making good use of a little understood MLB rule in order to minimize that lost time. Cain’s finger laceration will only cost the minimum time due to the Giants’ use of the “retroactive” provision of the disabled list rules.

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle had the scoop that Cain cut himself when trying to cut sandwiches into “fancy little triangles.” He dropped the knife and (get this) tried to catch it. That didn’t work out well, leaving him with a nasty cut on his index finger.

The cut didn’t require stitches, but sources tell me that the Giants medical staff did use several techniques, including adhesives and protective coverings to help the cut heal quickly and properly. Things were looking good up to Monday, when, in the pregame warm-up, Cain felt like the cut was going to “pop open.”

The Giants decided to skip him and did so in part because they understood the retroactive provision. Essentially, the rule allows a team to backdate a DL stint to the day after the player’s last appearance. Cain was able to be backdated to April 25th, which makes his effective DL stint only a few days.

Cain is scheduled to pitch this weekend in Los Angeles and will be eligible to come off the DL on Friday. If the finger has healed up, he’ll come off the DL and make the start. The Giants will “shadow” him, meaning they’ll have a long man ready in the pen in case the finger becomes a problem. This does limit the pen slightly for a few days, but is the smart move.

Yusmeiro Petit took both starts in Cain’s absence and is likely to be the shadow. Petit‘s place as the de facto swingman is another smart usage of roster spots and skills by the Giants. The Giants also recalled Jake Dunning when placing Cain on the DL, giving them another arm that could be used as a long relief arm or as an emergency starter.

In the long term, the fancy little triangles won’t cost Matt Cain much time, and it shouldn’t cause any issues once the laceration is healed enough to pitch. On and off the field, the Giants have worked to minimize an injury, showing others just how this should work.  

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