San Francisco has pushed back Matt Cain’s first start of the second half so that he gets 12 days between outings and in doing so manager Bruce Bochy admitted to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com that Cain has been pitching through “crankiness” in his elbow since spring training.
The elbow has been cranky at times going back to the spring. It gets that way occasionally and he’s always pitched through it.
Not coincidentally, Cain is 2-7 with a career-worst 4.18 ERA in 15 starts, with the lowest strikeout rate of his decade-long career and his highest walk rate since 2008. Cain, who apparently never reveals much of anything to reporters about his health status, said only: “I’m feeling like I’m feeling.”
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.