Cain hopes to eradicate 'bad habits' in offseason

Cain hopes to eradicate 'bad habits' in offseason

PHOENIX -- Matt Cain already has established the top item on his offseason to-do list: Eliminating flaws from his pitching delivery, which prevented him from displaying his usual consistency this year.

"I've got to get out of those bad habits," Cain said Tuesday.

Cain's health, or lack of it, didn't help. He underwent surgery last August to remove bone spurs and chips from his right (throwing) elbow, and he began this season on the disabled list with a flexor tendon strain that prevented him from making his first start until July 2.

"I wasn't expecting to come out of Spring Training with another injury," Cain said.

Cain has lurched through 10 starts this year, posting a 2-4 record with a 6.15 ERA. The right-hander realizes that reversing his fortunes next year will depend on regaining a proper pitching motion.

Said Cain: "I was dropping my elbow and pushing the ball across the plate instead of getting on top of it."

By lowering his elbow, Cain robbed his pitches of precious movement. Without that, his results were predictably subpar. Opponents batted .311 off him and socked 11 home runs in 52 2/3 innings.

"[A pitch] might look like it's moving pretty decent, but if it stays in the same plane, it stays on the barrel a lot," Cain said, with unassailable logic.

Expect the Giants to maintain considerable patience with the 30-year-old Cain. For one thing, he's guaranteed $21 million in 2016 and '17. The longest-tenured Giant also has won undying loyalty while making three National League All-Star teams and thriving during the club's postseason trips in '10 and '12, when he went 4-2 with a 2.10 ERA in eight starts.

Cain reiterated his willingness address his mechanical adjustments by pitching in relief once he's reinstated from the disabled list on Thursday.

"If that's what they need, we'll do it," said Cain, who has started in all but one of his 291 Major League appearances.

This is widely viewed as a season of transition for the Giants' starting staff, which is no longer led by the likes of Cain and Tim Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young Award winner who's facing a comeback from hip surgery. However, Giants manager Bruce Bochy noted, "One thing you never forget is what these guys have done for you. You always have a special place for these guys."

Worth noting

• The Giants continued to expand their pitching staff by purchasing the contract of right-handed reliever Cory Gearrin from Triple-A Sacramento. To clear roster room for Gearrin, the Giants transferred catcher Hector Sanchez (sprained left ankle) from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.

Gearrin finished 2-2 with a 2.72 ERA in 33 appearances for Sacramento. He struck out 46 and walked 14 in 43 innings. The 29-year-old gained Major League experience with Atlanta from 2011-13, posting a 3-3 mark with a 4.28 ERA in 77 appearances.

He underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in April 2014, seven months before the Braves released him.

"I'm looking forward to getting a look at him," Bochy said, citing Gearrin's effectiveness against right-handed batters (a .212 opponents' batting average with the Braves). "This guy was really good with Atlanta before he hurt himself."

• Also, in an anticipated move, the Giants reinstated left-hander Jeremy Affeldt from the 15-day disabled list.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.