SAN FRANCISCO -- A year after his last start, Matt Cain is finally ready to return to the rotation.
Cain threw 5 2/3 innings for the Sacramento River Cats on Thursday night and then returned to AT&T Park for one last pow-wow with team trainers. Barring a surprise decision, Cain will make his season debut on the next road trip, likely July 2 in Miami. Cain hasn't pitched in the big leagues since last July 9 because of bone chips in his elbow and a flexor strain.
"It's been a long time," he said. "It's been a lot of working out, rehabbing, watching and not being able to participate. It'll be good to feel like you can contribute."
Cain gave up two runs and four hits in his final rehab start, throwing 98 pitches.
"Everything feels good," he said.
The Giants will have to make a roster move to clear space for Cain, and this is where they could get tricky. It is expected that Tim Hudson, Friday's starter, will go on the DL, and if the Giants do go that way they could call up a reliever to fortify the bullpen for a few days while Cain prepares for his return. They also could add an outfielder to give them coverage as Angel Pagan recovers.
"We have moves to make here with the starters," manager Bruce Bochy said.
The Giants already made one move, putting Jeremy Affeldt on the DL with a left shoulder strain and recalling right-handed reliever Mike Broadway. Bochy said Broadway will be here through the weekend at least. Affeldt has dealt with the shoulder issue on and off during the first half.
"It's a gradual thing, it's not like he couldn't pitch or was hurting a lot," Bochy said. "It's more tired than anything. He was having trouble getting to his normal delivery at times. He's been battling this for a little while and it's time to get him a break. He felt it yesterday that he was not quite right."
Affeldt gave up three extra-base hits and walked one on Thursday, failing to record an out. The Giants now have only one lefty in the bullpen, with Steven Okert as the insurance at Triple-A. Bochy said that's part of the reason they promoted left-hander Josh Osich from Double-A Richmond to Triple-A. He'll get pushed, just like Mac Williamson is.
--- A non-Scherzer note from Washington D.C.: The Nationals called up Emmanuel Burriss today to replace the injured Anthony Rendon. They also have Dan Uggla on their roster. So, yeah, injuries hit everyone.
--- Per Elias, Brandon Belt yesterday became the first Giant since Robby Thompson in 1986 to triple in his first two plate appearances.