Giants expect Matt Cain to be ready for Opening Day after elbow and ankle surgeries

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Matt Cain is coming back from two injuries, undergoing elbow surgery in August followed by ankle surgery in September, but the Giants right-hander is making good progress in his recovery.

Chris Haft of MLB.com reports that Cain is throwing once every three days, including a session off the mound Friday, and “the Giants still believe that Cain will be physically ready to join their season-opening starting rotation.”

Cain struggled last year while trying to pitch through the elbow problems, posting a career-worst 4.18 ERA and career-worst strikeout rate along with his worst walk rate since 2008. He was finally shut down after logging a total of just 90 innings, snapping a streak of eight consecutive seasons with at least 180 innings.

At age 30 he’s owed $67.5 million for the next three years.

Justin Verlander named 2019 American League Cy Young Award winner

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Astros starter Justin Verlander was voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America as the 2019 American League Cy Young Award winner. Teammate Gerrit Cole finished in a close second place at 159 points. Charlie Morton finished third at 75 points, Shane Bieber fourth at 64, Lance Lynn fifth at 18, Eduardo Rodríguez and Lucas Giolito sixth at eight, and Mike Minor eighth at seven.

Verlander, 36, won the AL Cy Young Award (and AL MVP Award) in 2011 with the Tigers). He and Cole became the first pair of teammates to finish first and second on the ballot for the AL Cy Young Award. Four NL teammates accomplished the feat: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2001 and ’02, Don Newcomb and Sal Maglie in 1956, and Mike Marshall and Andy Messersmith in 1974.

During the regular season, Verlander led all starting pitchers in wins (21), games started (34), innings pitched (223), and WHIP (0.803). He also compiled a 2.58 ERA with a 300/42 K/BB ratio. Along with a 300-strikeout season, Verlander achieved other milestones, including reaching 3,000 strikeouts for his career and 200 career postseason strikeouts (an all-time record).

2019 was not without controversy for Verlander, a future Hall of Famer, as he had a well-publicized disagreement with Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. He tried to have Fenech barred from the clubhouse during media availability despite the collective bargaining agreement ensuring access to BBWAA-credentialed reporters. It was one of many Astros-related scandals in 2019.

Verlander is the first Astro to win the Cy Young Award since Dallas Keuchel in 2015. Roger Clemens (2004) and Mike Scott (1986) also won the award back when the Astros were in the National League.