SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants had a day off Monday to put some distance between themselves and a 10-game road trip that got off to a promising start in New York but ended with the Giants losing their final four games, including a sweep in Kansas City. For one currently inactive player, the day represented a significant step forward, too.
Right-hander Matt Cain underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his pitching elbow Monday, finally addressing an issue that he has pitched through for years. Manager Bruce Bochy said the surgery, performed by Giants team orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki, "went well," and that Cain is now looking at a three-month rehab.
"Matt’s in there, very upbeat," Bochy said. "I think he’s excited at the fact he’s got this elbow cleaned out."
Cain decided about a week ago to have the season-ending surgery, telling reporters that the pain from the bone spurs had finally reached a critical point. Bochy said he got a look at some of the chips that were removed from Cain’s elbow, and that "they’re pretty big."
"It’s amazing this guy was pitching, when you look at the jar with the chips in there," Bochy said.
Difficult as it would have been to imagine the Giants making a stretch run without Cain in recent years, that’s what they now have to do. They enter tonight’s game against the Chicago White Sox trailing the Dodgers by five games in the N.L. West, their largest deficit of the season.
The Giants haven’t won a series against a team above .500 since June. The White Sox are 56-63 -- but they have one of the best pitchers in the A.L. going tonight in left-hander Chris Sale, who’s 10-2 with a 2.14 ERA. Here’s the Giants’ lineup against Sale:
And the White Sox lineup against Ryan Vogelsong:
LF De Anza
* Bochy said there’s no change today in the status of Brandon Belt, who has continued to experience symptoms from his concussion last month. Bochy said the Giants "will keep evaluating (Belt) this week and see where we’re at … It’s day-to-day."
* Catcher Hector Sanchez "came out all right of his test" for concussion symptoms and is rejoining the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies tonight, Bochy said. Sanchez will DH for Fresno tonight and is scheduled to catch tomorrow.
* After going winless in July while receiving no runs of support in four of his five starts, Vogelsong is 2-0 in two August starts, allowing two earned runs in 15 innings. The two outings both came on the road, so the Giants still have yet to address a striking aspect of Vogelsong’s season -- he has received 2.07 runs of support per game pitching at home -- the lowest average among National League starters.
* The Giants announced they’ll pay tribute before and during tonight’s game to actor Robin Williams, who died Monday at age 63. Williams was a Bay Area native and a Giants fan who memorably helped rally fans at AT&T Park before a playoff game in 2010, as the Giants were on their way to winning the World Series.
Bochy also recalled that Williams and actor Billy Crystal, a noted New York Yankees fan, once came down to the field at AT&T Park before an interleague game between the two teams in 2010.
"He came in the dugout here when we played the Yankees, (I) had a chance to talk to him a little bit," Bochy said. "He was his usual self, full of energy, bouncing around, having a good time, pulling for his Giants. The last few years we didn’t see Robin around, but we all heard he was such a huge Giants fan, and we appreciated it."