SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bruce Bochy officially announced his easiest decision of the spring on Monday, naming Matt Cain as the opening day starter.

It's the first opening day nod for Cain, an eight-year veteran, and snaps a four-year run by Tim Lincecum. Barry Zito got the two opening day starts prior to the start of Lincecum's streak.

Cain, 28, is coming off the most fruitful season of his career. He was rewarded with a new contract before the season started, threw a perfect game in June, started the All-Star Game in July and took the ball for the World Series-clinching victory in October.

Bochy said he feels he has five guys worthy of the spot, but Cain has earned the honor.

"Look at all of them and what they've done in the past and in the postseason," Bochy said. "We don't look at any of them as the fourth or fifth guy." But the No. 1 guy will be Cain this season, making official a sea change that occurred last season when Lincecum struggled and Cain put up a 2.79 ERA and won a career-high 16 games.

Opening day comes April 1 in Los Angeles against the rival Dodgers. The decision also puts Cain in line to start at home on Sunday, April 7, when the Giants will hold their ring ceremony.

Speaking before Bochy made the announcement, Cain said it would be a huge honor if he were to be chosen. "In the long run it really is another start," Cain said. "But you definitely are a little more amped up about it."