SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants right-hander Matt Cain is on his way to Florida to meet with elbow specialist Dr. James Andrews, manager Bruce Bochy said today.
Cain has not pitched since July 9 with inflammation in his pitching elbow, and general manager Brian Sabean recently said that Cain’s elbow was not responding to treatment.
Andrews, of course, is perhaps best-known for performing Tommy John surgery on a number of major-league pitchers. But Bochy said the evaluation is "just another opinion to see we’re on the right page," and that it would be a leap at this point to assume Cain is headed for the procedure.
"We’re having one of the best doctors as far as elbows take a look at a guy we think a lot of," Bochy said. "I think there’s a little sense of comfort for Matt Cain having Dr. Andrews evaluate him. But I think you would be jumping to conclusions right now that this is a Tommy John situation right now. But that’s why (Cain is) going there, too."
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Cain has reportedly dealt with "loose bodies" -- bone chips -- in his elbow in years past but pitched through the discomfort. Bochy said whatever is ailing Cain now has "caused some inflammation (and) we’re trying to get it calmed down.
"But at the same time, we want to make sure there’s not something that we’re missing, some underlying issue, whether it’s a ligament or something," he said.
A ligament issue would likely require Cain to miss a significant amount of time. Already the Giants have hedged against the possibility with their trade for Jake Peavy last week, at which point Sabean admitted they were motivated to act quickly on the trade because Cain was not showing improvement.
Bochy said Cain is "a little frustrated that this thing is staying with him," but that he has "been fine the last week. … I know he wants to get out there and pitch. It’s frustrating." The plan is for Cain to be evaluated Wednesday, then rejoin the Giants when they arrive in New York for a series beginning Friday.
* The Giants also made a pair of roster moves before tonight’s game against the Pirates. They purchased the contract of first baseman Travis Ishikawa from Triple-A Fresno and recalled outfielder Juan Perez. Infielder Tony Abreu was designated for assignment, and first baseman Adam Duvall was optioned back to Triple-A.
It’s a homecoming of sorts for Ishikawa, who was drafted by the Giants back in 2002 and played in San Francisco sporadically from 2006-10. Ishikawa played in 15 games with the Pirates early this season before the Giants signed him as a free agent in April. He was batting .271 with 11 homers and 45 RBIs in 71 games in Fresno.
Bochy said Ishikawa will provide a left-handed option off the bench and could play some first base until Brandon Belt returns from his concussion. "He’s been swinging the bat well this past week in Fresno and we’re looking for help with the bats," Bochy said.
The moves come on the heels of the Giants being shut out for the 12th time this season on Monday night by Pirates right-hander Vance Worley. It’s their most shutouts in a season since 2011 (14), and it’s not even August yet.
Duvall’s playing time was likely going to decrease with Ishikawa coming up and Bochy intending to give Buster Posey more time at first base until Belt returns. Perez gives the Giants another option in the outfield and speed as a pinch-runner. Posey is starting at first base tonight, and Bochy said that’s about "trying to give Buster a break."
"I’m just a little concerned for him," Bochy said of Posey. "I don’t want to wear him down to the point it’s going to take a week to get his legs back."
Posey hasn’t had a day off since the All-Star Break and has caught nearly all those games with Hector Sanchez also on the concussion DL. With Posey at first, Andrew Susac gets his first major-league start tonight. Here’s the full Giants lineup:
And the Pirates’ lineup:
* Belt played catch on the field this afternoon with trainer Dave Groeschner and took swings off a tee. Bochy said there’s a possibility Belt could be playing games by this weekend, in which case the Giants would have to decide whether Belt needs a rehab assignment or could return to their lineup right away.
* Angel Pagan was scheduled to go through a full pre-game routine tonight in Arizona, after which the Giants hope to have a target date for his rehab assignment.