MIAMI -- The crucial trial period for Matt Cain and Jake Peavy, which has been in the conceptual stages for months, finally became imminent Tuesday when Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced the veteran right-handers will make their comeback starts Thursday and Friday, respectively.
Cain, who dealt with a flexor tendon injury after weathering removal of bone chips and spurs from his throwing elbow, hasn't pitched in a Major League game since last Aug. 11. Peavy dealt with back pain during two early-season starts before focusing on rehabilitation.
How Cain and Peavy fare could shape the remainder of the Giants' season. Obviously, the fate of two-fifths of the starting rotation would be an issue at any juncture of the year. But with the July 31 Trade Deadline a month away, the Giants must determine as soon as possible whether they must try to acquire more pitching for the stretch drive or can rely on the savvy of Cain and Peavy, both three-time All-Stars.
Through Minor League injury rehabilitation starts, Cain and Peavy have appeared to regain the endurance and arm strength necessary to perform in a Major League game. Bochy said he and Peavy discussed the possibility of making one more rehab start. But, said Bochy, "he feels like he's ready."
No transactions were made to clear room for Cain and Peavy because none were necessary. But it's certain that Tim Lincecum, who sustained a deep bruise on his right forearm when he was hit by a line drive Saturday, will go on the disabled list before Thursday's series finale here to make room for Cain. Similarly, the corresponding move for Peavy probably won't be made until just before the Giants begin a three-game series at Washington on Friday.
• Right fielder Hunter Pence (left wrist) was expected to continue his recovery by hitting balls off a tee using a fungo bat. This was believed to be the first time since Pence was sidelined June 3 that he swung a bat in an attempt to make contact.