Cain on 2022: 'Could possibly be my last year'

Brewers announce revised regular-season schedule

March 16th, 2022

PHOENIX -- Lorenzo Cain will turn 36 next month and he isn’t certain what lies beyond this season, the last year of his five-year contract with the Brewers.

“I’m still unsure about that right now,” Cain said. “This could possibly be my last year. But if it isn’t, you know me. I’ll train as usual in the offseason. But if it is, I’m going to go out here and give it my all and hopefully we can get to the playoffs and the World Series, if it is my last year. It’s a wait-and-see approach, and it all kind of depends on what happens this year.”

The decision, he said, will come down to health.

“I’ve had a great career,” said Cain, who won a World Series with the Royals in 2015. “I’ve done everything possible that I can think of throughout my career and I’ve accomplished a lot. So, I’m happy if it is my last year. But it’s kind of wait and see, and how my body feels this year. If it feels great, I might come back another year.

“It could happen where I get to the end of the season [and decide then]. As of right now, I feel great, but I haven’t been on the field yet. You know, we always feel great when we get to Spring Training. We know it’s a grind the day you step foot on the field. It could happen at the end of the season. But at the end of the day, I’m still going to make the decision in the offseason, regardless.”

Cain, who took a few extra days to tie up loose ends at home in Oklahoma before joining the rest of the Brewers in Spring Training, said he ran extensively during the offseason in an effort to avoid the sort of leg injuries -- a strain to each quad and a right hamstring strain -- that limited him last year during the spring and the regular season after he elected not to play the bulk of the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign. In ’21, he was limited to 78 games and slashed .257/.329/.401.

The Brewers are hoping for at least one more impact year. Cain was an All-Star and garnered votes in NL MVP Award balloting in 2018, his first year back in Milwaukee, when he logged a .395 on-base percentage atop the lineup. In '19, Cain finally was rewarded with a Gold Glove Award to match his reputation for playing plus defense in center field.

“The fact that he’s coming in this spring healthy, I think we’re in good shape,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I don’t think his age is really relevant to that. I think we’re in really good shape. In 2020, not a different scenario really [with a short camp]. He came in ready to go and he was ready to play Opening Day. He got off to a really good start and I think we’re going to be in the same scenario.”

Milwaukee’s depth options behind Cain include Tyrone Taylor and Corey Ray on the 40-man roster, and non-roster invites Jonathan Davis and Garrett Whitley. The Brewers could also play left fielder Christian Yelich or right fielder Hunter Renfroe in center on a short-term basis, but they view newly signed Andrew McCutchen as a designated hitter and corner outfielder at this point.

Cain said he would love to play 140-150 games this season. He is set to earn $18 million in the final year of his deal.

“It’s going to be interesting,” he said. “I’m going to go out here and give it my all. My goal is to stay healthy the entire season, and I kind of let everything else take care of itself.”

Makeup games set
The Brewers set a pair of schedules on Wednesday: The reconfigured regular-season schedule to account for the opening homestand being postponed by the lockout, and the revised Spring Training broadcast schedule.

The club will make up its original opening three-game series against the D-backs at the end of the regular season as expected, making that a nine-game closing homestand against the Cardinals, Marlins and D-backs. But the other postponed series, a three-game set against the Giants, was a bit more complicated. The Brewers will make up those games with one game at American Family Field at 5:10 p.m. CT on April 25 -- between road series at Philadelphia and Pittsburgh -- then a doubleheader at home on Sept. 8 beginning at 3:10 p.m. CT.

As far as the Spring Training broadcast schedule, the slate features 11 games televised on Bally Sports Wisconsin, 16 radio broadcasts and one webcast on Friday’s Cactus League opener against the Dodgers will air via radio with Jeff Levering and Lane Grindle on the call -- but will also be available for free on MLB.TV. The first Brewers telecast is Sunday’s home debut against the Padres, also available for free on MLB.TV.

Last call
The Brewers will play a 4 1/2-inning scrimmage in the main stadium at American Family Fields of Phoenix just after noon CT on Thursday, a tune-up for Friday’s opener against the Dodgers. Left-handed pitching prospect Ethan Small will get the start against Los Angeles and he is slated for two innings.