I’m not sure if this gets to be filed under “good news” or “bad news.” Matt Cain will miss the remainder of the 2014 season to have surgery, but it won’t be Tommy John surgery, according to Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle. One one hand, 2014 has been a waste for him. On the other hand, Cain does not need Tommy John surgery.
Last week it was announced that Cain would go see Dr. James Andrews, the surgeon known for doing Tommy John surgery. San Francisco Giants fans feared the worst, but after a visit with Dr. Andrews as a second opinion, and even after getting a third opinion, it was confirmed that the ligaments in Cain’s elbow were fine and that he didn’t need TJ surgery. That surgery would have cost him and the Giants the rest of 2014 and all of 2015.
However, Cain has dealt with bone chips floating around in his elbow for the past couple of seasons. Typically he’s been able to maneuver them around so that he could pitch through it. That wasn’t working this season, so surgery to remove them seemed to be the best course of action for Cain and the Giants. The procedure is scheduled for next Monday.
There is an upside to having the surgery now instead of the offseason. The recovery time for this type of procedure is just about three months. That will leave him plenty of time to recover and be fully ready for spring training. He could likely have even opted to do it in the offseason and still been ready for spring training. However, it wouldn’t have helped matters this season and if he continued to try to pitch through it, it may have made matters worse.
So Matt Cain is being shut down for 2014 after going 2-7 with a 4.18 ERA. If recovery goes as planned, the Giants will have the offseason to determine how his elbow is as they weigh their options for starting pitching, including whether to re-sign Ryan Vogelsong or Jake Peavy. Of course, whether either of those guys are even in the discussion will depend on how they pitch the rest of 2014.