Prior to San Francisco’s season opening 5-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, concerns over discomfort in pitcher Matt Cain’s right arm had the former ace scratched from his scheduled first start of the season on Wednesday, April 8 and had the Giant faithful worried. As a precaution, Manager Bruce Bochy said that Cain would undergo an MRI to see if there was any structural damage to the elbow.

Well, San Francisco fans can take a collective sigh of relief as Cain’s MRI results revealed no ligament damage to his right arm. Instead, the 30-year old pitcher was diagnosed with a flexor tendon strain, which is a promising diagnosis when thinking the alternative could have been possibly Tommy John surgery.

“It sounds like it’s just a strain,” Cain said, who enters the 2015 season on the heels of a disappointing 2014 that required the talented right-hander to have season-ending elbow surgery to remove bone chips from his pitching arm. Despite the Giants’ efforts to ease Cain along this spring, it is a possibility that the rehab process could have resulted in the flexor tendon strain.

“There are some bumps in the rehab process,” Cain said, adding that it is frustrating, but he knows it goes with the territory. “This is one of them.”

Cain had performed quite admirably this spring for a pitcher coming off of surgery. He was showcasing a free-and-easy motion with good velocity and location. Cain finished the 2015 Cactus League action with a 5.40 ERA, allowing seven runs (all earned) in 11.2 innings of work while striking out seven batters.

He was solid during his final tune-up for the regular season, pitching four scoreless innings against the Oakland Athletics. During the outing, Cain allowed three hits and two walks while striking out three.

In order to determine if Cain needs to have a stint on the 15-day disabled list, it has been determined that he refrain from throwing for a couple of days to see if rest will help the flexor tendon strain heal. After a couple of days, Cain will be reexamined and a course of action will be determined.

“We’ll take it as it is and let it heal up,” said Cain, adding that the trainers seem pretty positive about this course of treatment.

 

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