Matt Cain skipping Thursday start with elbow inflammation

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According to the great Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced late Wednesday evening that right-hander Matt Cain has inflammation in his throwing elbow and will skip his scheduled Thursday Cactus League start against the Rockies.

Not to worry, though.

The Giants ran an MRI on his arm and it showed no kind of structural damage. The expectation is that he won’t have to miss another outing.

Cain, 26, registered a sparkling 3.14 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 177 strikeouts across 223.1 innings last year for the World Series champion Giants. An underrated workhorse, he has pitched at least 200 innings in each of the last four seasons.

San Francisco is expecting a similar brand of durability out of the former first-round pick in 2011.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.