And then, shortly before the first pitch of the 2015 regular season, the Giants learned they might have a normal five-man rotation, after all. Matt Cain was sent for an MRI on Monday after complaining of forearm tightness. The forearm bone is connected to the arm-ligament bone, and forearm tightness is usually the symptom pitchers complain about before Tommy John Surgery.
That's not always what it means. Just ... well, I'll hold you if you hold me. The dream was to get full-strength Matt Cain back, which would mean the Giants suddenly had a co-ace with Madison Bumgarner instead of a gaggle of average-ish starters bought in bulk from Costco. If he were one of those average-ish starters, hey, that was fine. We're not picky around here. Instead, it looks like Cain will miss his start on Wednesday, and it could be a lot worse than that.
The Giants might push Tim Lincecum up a day to take Cain's start, or they might call up a starter like Chris Heston because they don't want to start Yusmeiro Petit for some reason. With Jake Peavy dealing with back issues and a dead arm and Cain out indefinitely, Petit would be the fifth pitcher on the depth chart, but he would stay in long relief if Peavy didn't miss more than a turn in the rotation.
The Giants had a brilliant run of injury-free pitching from Matt Cain, but when it rains it pours. And when it pours, it pours acid rain that eats ligaments and dreams. Henry Schulman reports that the pain in Cain's forearm was temporary, but substantial enough to make the MRI necessary.
Get well soon, Matt Cain. Not because the Giants are completely lost without you, but because I'm tired of not watching you pitch.