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San Francisco Giants: Matt Cain Working His Way Back to Rotation

If Matt Cain is completely healed, the Giants rotation should be solid heading into the second half. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
If Matt Cain is completely healed, the Giants rotation should be solid heading into the second half. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
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Baseball is back in full force with pitchers and catchers reporting this week. As Spring Training begins, questions come about on what to look for in the San Francisco Giants 2017 season.

Will Mac Williamson or Jarrett Parker be in left field? Will Christian Arroyo finally make his debut at AT&T Park? But, probably one of the biggest questions coming from the San Francisco Giants camp…can Matt Cain return from another injury plagued season and secure a spot as the 5th starter?

The veteran right hander must win his way back into the rotation. Cain is not shying away from the competition. “Good. That’s good,” Cain said on going against Ty Blach, Tyler Beede, and Albert Suarez in an interview with CSN Bay area, “Let’s go with it. That’s a good competition. Let’s all compete for it. That’s fine with me.” 

It seems years ago Cain was on top of his game when he pitched on the mound and a favorite among Giants fans. Let’s rewind back to 2012, Cain had a 16-5 season that includes a career high in strikeouts with 193, a 2.79 ERA and 1.79 WHIP.  And on June 13, Cain threw a perfect game against Houston. Let’s not forget Cain saved the Giants when he beat the Cincinnati Reds in Game 5 of the NLDS after the Giants were trailing by two runs and taking down the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 7 of the NLCS as the Giants came back from a three game to one deficit.

Unfortunately since 2013, Cain suffered injuries, such as elbow surgery, back spasms, and a cyst on his pitching arm.  In 2016, Cain made 21 appearances with an 5.64 ERA.  Despite the setbacks, Cain is willing to do whatever it takes to redeem himself and win back a spot in the rotation.

It makes sense to give Cain a chance because he has earned the respect from the players and the rest of the organization after all he contributed by helping this franchise win three World Series titles in the last six years.  Who doesn’t want to see our work horse come back into the rotation with Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore.

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But you also have to look at the other pitchers especially Blach who is worthy of being in the fifth spot. Remember Blach had an eight inning shut out against the Dodgers in his second big league appearance and two scoreless innings as a reliever in the Division Series against the Cubs. Also, we can’t leave out rising prospects like 2014 first round pick Beede, and also Suarez, who has earned a shot with his performance as a fill-in starter last season.

But you also have to look at the other pitchers especially Blach who is worthy of being in the fifth spot. Remember Blach had an eight inning shut out against the Dodgers in his second big league appearance and two scoreless innings as a reliever in the Division Series against the Cubs. Also, we can’t leave out rising prospects like 2014 first round pick Beede, and also Suarez, who has earned a shot with his performance as a fill-in starter last season.

According to Henry Schulman when commenting on Blach “He is competing against a mentor and one of the most popular San Francisco Giants ever.” No pressure there for Blach, but it must be surreal to go against someone you look up to and consider a mentor.

Tough competition, huh?

For Cain, the only thing standing in his way is not another young pitcher, it’s his health. If Cain stays healthy throughout Spring Training, and prove to be the once dominate pitcher whom the Giants fans fell in love with, he has the right to be the fifth starter.

Next: Pre Spring Training Roster Predictions

Who knows what the outcome will be when the Giants announce on who will be in the fifth spot, but whether Cain makes it or not, he will always be a forever Giant in the fans eyes’. No matter what.

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