Giants welcome back Matt Cain for first start in 12 months

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Giants right-hander Matt Cain is off the disabled list and will make his 2015 debut today against the Marlins, returning from ankle and elbow surgeries to start for the first time in nearly one year.

Cain last started on July 9, 2014, when he was shut down with a 2-7 record and 4.18 ERA in his second straight disappointing season. He made four minor-league rehab starts–three of them at Triple-A–and posted a 4.19 ERA with a strong 19/5 K/BB ratio in 19 innings to convince the Giants he’s ready to return.

Tim Lincecum is headed to the disabled list after being hit in the arm by a line drive, clearing the path for Cain to reclaim his rotation spot. Cain is making $20 million this season and is owed $20 million in both 2016 and 2017, plus a $21 million option or $7.5 million buyout for 2018. That contract combined with his strong pre-2013 track record and Lincecum’s struggles mean the Giants are very much counting on Cain being a big contributor in the second half.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.