12:45am: After tonight’s win over the D-Backs, Bochy told reporters that there’s no torn ligament in Cain’s elbow and the injury is more of a “two week thing,” via Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter links). Cain himself termed the injury a flexor strain but also noted that the team’s trainers are fairly optimistic about his prognosis. Based on the timeline suggested from Bochy, however, it sounds like a DL stint is in the cards.
While the result is presently unknown, Cain’s 2014 season came to an end after he underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow, and Pavlovic writes that Giants officials privately expressed concern that the issue could eventually lead to Tommy John surgery. Forearm pain is often a precursor to Tommy John surgery, so it seems reasonable to have some legitimate concerns about Cain’s immediate future. Of course, there are a number of other, more minor issues, that could result in forearm pain for Cain. It sounds like Cain will miss his first scheduled start, at the very least, as Bochy said “There’s got to be some concern” and indicated that the team would withhold him on Wednesday if necessary.
To further complicate the team’s pitching outlook, Jake Peavy will miss his first start due to a back injury, although the hope is that he can make a start in the second series of the season in San Diego. Still, it’s troublesome for Giants fans that two of the team’s five projected starters are already facing injury issues of any magnitude.
The Giants’ pitching depth was called into question this offseason by many pundits. Beyond ace Madison Bumgarner, there was little certainty in San Francisco’s rotation picture. Cain’s recovery from surgery was a question mark, and 39-year-old Tim Hudson had ankle surgery this winter. Tim Lincecum has been ineffective for three years now, and Peavy’s own injury history is lengthy.
Such concerns may have played a role in the Giants’ decision to re-sign Ryan Vogelsong late in the offseason, and Bochy has already informed reporters that Vogelsong will start in place of Peavy. Beyond him, the next line of defense in the rotation is excellent swingman Yusmeiro Petit, who stepped into the rotation with aplomb late last year when Lincecum’s struggles became too great to ignore.