MIAMI -– There isn’t enough truth serum in the world to make Matt Cain confess to any arm discomfort.
But the signs were too great to ignore, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged that Cain, his longest tenured player, has been dealing with “crankiness” in his right elbow since spring training.
That’s why Cain got pushed back in the second-half rotation; he’ll get 12 days in between starts while Madison Bumgarner gets just four and the other starting pitchers will get eight.
“The elbow has been cranky at times going back to the spring,” Bochy said. “It gets that way occasionally and he’s always pitched through it.”
Cain was wearing a wrap on his right elbow before the Giants took the field to stretch Friday. Bochy said Cain threw Thursday night and remains on schedule to start Tuesday at Philadelphia.
"I'm feeling like I'm feeling," said Cain, when ... asked how he was feeling.
Cain has bone chips or other loose bodies in his elbow, which an MRI discovered in 2010 when he signed a three-year extension. Cain and the Giants originally had sketched out a four-year deal but the club reduced it to three seasons after viewing results of the physical.
Of course, most pitchers who have thrown 1,000-plus innings in the big leagues have something floating around in their elbow. When a fragment lodges in a certain spot, it can cause inflammation or an impingement in which it becomes impossible to fully straighten the arm. Thus far, the Giants have treated the inflammation rather than have Cain undergo arthroscopic surgery, which is always a consideration at the end of a season.
For now, Bochy said he expects Cain to take his turn. He’s 2-7 with a 4.18 ERA in 15 starts, and both his strikeout and walk rates have worsened from last season.
Given that he’s already missed time with a hamstring injury and a finger laceration, Cain will miss throwing 200 innings for the second consecutive year.