Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Giants trade Heston to Mariners

Cain focused on returning to starting role
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Giants traded right-hander Chris Heston, whose promise was dashed by injuries a little more than a year after he pitched a no-hitter, to the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named.

San Francisco needed a 40-man roster spot to clear room for right-hander Mark Melancon, the closer who agreed to a four-year, $62 million contract Monday.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Giants traded right-hander Chris Heston, whose promise was dashed by injuries a little more than a year after he pitched a no-hitter, to the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named.

San Francisco needed a 40-man roster spot to clear room for right-hander Mark Melancon, the closer who agreed to a four-year, $62 million contract Monday.

Heston finished 12-11 with a 3.95 ERA in 31 starts in 2015, including his nno-hitter June 9, 2015, at New York against the Mets. It was the 17th no-hitter in franchise history and the third by a rookie. Heston struck out 11 and hit three batters -- the only baserunners he allowed.

Heston, 28, allowed six runs in five innings while making four relief appearances last season for the Giants. When Heston wasn't on the 60-day disabled list with an oblique injury, he compiled a 2-9 record with a 4.54 ERA in 15 appearances (14 starts) for Triple-A Sacramento.

Cain focused on starting: Matt Cain will let everybody know when he's done pitching. And he's not ready to stop yet, Giants general manager Bobby Evans said Wednesday.

Limited to 43 starts in the previous three seasons by numerous injuries, Cain intends to remain in the Giants' rotation as their No. 5 starter. As Evans related, Cain is convinced he can regain enough endurance and health to pitch six innings per outing -- a total he reached just five times last season, when he finished 4-8 with a 5.64 ERA.

"If he's a six-inning guy, that will go a long way toward us being very successful," Evans said Wednesday at baseball's Winter Meetings.

Video: CHC@SF: Cain uses arm, bat to earn first win of 2016

Evans said Cain, 32, has overcome the hamstring and back injuries that bothered him last season. Thus, Cain can focus this offseason on conditioning instead of recovering.

Evans believes Cain can duplicate the type of performance he delivered on July 31, when he pitched five no-hit innings in a 3-1 victory at Washington.

"It's a matter of him hitting his spots and maintaining command," Evans said. "I think his stuff still works."

It remains to be seen whether it works often enough for Cain, San Francisco's former staff ace, to outlast rookie left-hander Ty Blach and a handful of others expected to compete for the fifth starter's spot. Whoever emerges as second-best in this competition could emerge as the Giants' long reliever, unless Cain beats out Blach and the club determines the latter needs to pitch regularly at Triple-A Sacramento.

The Giants have reached their payroll limit and can't afford to add any high-salaried players, dashing their dreams of obtaining an outfielder who swings a proven bat. But trading Cain, who's slated to earn $21 million in 2017, isn't an option for creating payroll space, due to his risk of re-injury.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. 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.

San Francisco Giants, Matt Cain, Chris Heston