Cain throws simulated game, could return soon

Cain throws simulated game, could return soon

SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Cain pitched in a simulated game Wednesday and did well according to manager Bruce Bochy, but the Giants have yet to decide whether to send the right-hander out on a rehab assignment.

Cain threw 72 pitches and showed no lingering effects from the right hamstring strain that forced him onto the 15-day disabled list May 28, one day after retiring just five batters in a 5-2 loss at Colorado.

Cain is eligible to come off the DL on Sunday, though it's uncertain what the next step will be for the 31-year-old former staff ace. He could do more rehab work on the side, be sent down to the Minors to make a rehab start or rejoin the big league club straight from the DL and make a start next week.

"He threw well," Bochy said. "He threw 72 pitches, which gets him back the way he needs to be or close to it. We'll see how he comes out of it tomorrow."

The Giants could use a healthy Cain back in the rotation, but they won't rush him back to fill the need.

Albert Suarez, who took Cain's spot in the rotation, has pitched well in the two starts he's made, and that gives San Francisco more time to make a decision if needed. When Cain does return, Suarez will go back to the Giants bullpen.

"That certainly helps matters," Bochy said. "We'd like to get [Cain] back in as soon as possible. With Albert going to the bullpen, that's going to make us stronger there, too."

Cain is 1-5 this season with a 5.20 ERA. A 16-game winner in 2012 when he also pitched a perfect game, Cain has won only 13 games since then while battling numerous injuries.

Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.