Matt Cain was scratched from Monday’s scheduled start due to lingering discomfort in his right hamstring, but he’s aiming to return on Saturday against the Cardinals.
Cain, who strained the hamstring last Wednesday, ran and threw off flat ground this afternoon at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. However, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle notes that Giants manager Bruce Bochy didn’t sound 100 percent convinced about his readiness for Saturday. They’ll wait to see how he feels tomorrow before making a final decision on his status.
Cain landed on the disabled list last last month due to a cut on his right index finger, so he has been limited to just three starts in May. The 29-year-old has a 3.66 ERA and 39/17 K/BB ratio in 46 2/3 innings over eight starts this season overall.
The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.
Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.
His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.
The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.