Matt Cain had a fairly poor season on paper in 2016, finishing with a 5.64 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in 89.1 injury-shortened innings. There were some bright spots for the once-great pitcher. He improved his strikeout rate to 7.25 K/9, a mark that surpassed both his 2015 and 2014 totals. Cain also had a nice nine-game stretch in the middle of the season which produced a usable 3.27 ERA. As usual, the long ball was his eventual downfall, as his 1.61 HR/9 compounded with his unlucky .321 BABIP hurt his season totals. It is a bit too early to write the 32-year-old off completely; but he will need to stay healthy, win the fifth starter's job and also produce consistently before anybody will give him another chance at fantasy relevance.
While he is the favorite, Cain will have to earn the fifth starter's spot this spring, Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area reports. It is fair to ask Cain to battle for the rotation spot after he posted an ERA north of five for two consecutive seasons. However, his massive contract may come into play when the organization as a whole considers whether or not he will be a starter. If Cain makes the rotation, he would have to prove himself on the mound for an extended period before fantasy owners could learn to trust him again.
The Giants activated Cain (back) from the disabled list Friday. Cain will rejoin the Giants on Friday after missing a little over two weeks with a back strain. The veteran Cain has started 308 games over his 12 seasons with the Giants, but he will be used as bullpen arm moving forward, and will likely be used mainly in long relief.
Cain (back) will pitch out of the bullpen when he's activated from the disabled list, Chris Haft of MLB.com reports. Cain was considered a candidate to start Friday's contest against the Cubs but that will instead go to Albert Suarez. Cain has had some encouraging results on the mound this season but surrendered 11 runs over 8.2 innings in his two outings prior to hitting the DL. While the veteran will pitch out of the bullpen to begin with, there's a chance he could rejoin the rotation later in September.
Cain (back) is expected to be activated to start Sept. 2 against the Cubs in Chicago, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. A back strain forced Cain to the DL earlier this month but it sounds like he will return next Friday when first eligible. While Cain held the Cubs to one run over six innings in a home start back in May, he has struggled away from home the past two seasons with ERAs north of 6.00 on the road.
Cain was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday. The Giants officially listed Cain's injury as a lower back strain Thursday after his shaky outing against Pittsburgh on Wednesday. He was tagged for six earned runs in just 4.2 innings of work to take his eighth loss on the year. He could return as early as early September, but it's unclear who will take Cain's rotation spot in his absence.