MILWAUKEE -- In retrospect, maybe the Giants should be thankful that right-hander Matt Cain has pitched effectively for this long.
Cain said on Tuesday that he has had bone chips and spurs in his throwing arm, which are prompting next Monday's season-ending surgery, "for a long time." Moreover, the 29-year-old said that he never has had full range of motion in his arm, dating to high school. Nor will the upcoming procedure, to be performed in San Francisco by team orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki, restore his flexibility.
Yet, Cain has managed to make three National League All-Star teams and excel in two postseasons for the Giants.
"I was always able to kind of manipulate it [to] where you didn't really notice it," Cain said, referring to the bone chips. Moreover, Cain added, he never had to try to do this during a game.
Nevertheless, Cain's already looking forward to next Spring Training, when the loose bodies in his elbow will cease to be an issue.
"It'll be nice to know going into next year that I should be good to go and won't have to worry about anything," he said.
Cain insisted that his struggles in 2013 and this season had nothing to do with arm discomfort.
"I was just making bad pitches and not executing," said Cain, who finished with a career-best 16-5 record and 2.79 ERA in 2012 before going 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA last year. This year, he went 2-7 with a 4.15 ERA in 15 starts.
Cain would have preferred to avoid surgery. But he ultimately realized that he needed it if he wanted to continue to pitch.
"It came down to, really, my body wouldn't let me [pitch]," he said. "I lost too much range of motion in my arm. It was going to hurt to throw. I probably would have lost stuff, too. It was just time to do it."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.