PHOENIX — Matt Cain is set to make one final start before he calls it a career.
Cain talked to his San Francisco teammates in a closed clubhouse before Wednesday’s game at Arizona, telling them he was ready to retire.
Before he goes, the right-hander who threw the only perfect game in Giants’ history and helped them win three World Series titles will pitch once more — home at AT&T Park, on Saturday against San Diego. Cain will start a day before his 33rd birthday.
“This organization has meant so much to me. It’s meant so much to my family. I’m just grateful it’s been a part of my life. I’ve enjoyed it so much,” Cain said.
“I think we’ve been through the full gamut of everything. That is something that is satisfying. I know I am able to hang my hat at the end of the day and say I put everything I could into this and I’ve experienced it all and enjoyed every bit of it,” he said.
Cain has been slowed by elbow and hamstring trouble in recent years. He’s 3-11 with a 5.66 ERA this season in 26 games, 22 of them starts for the last-place Giants.
The three-time All-Star is nearing the end of his contract with the Giants, who have an option for one more season. He was a first-round draft pick by them in 2002 and made his big league debut in 2005.
“I’ve been able to be lucky enough to be with the same organization,” Cain said. “It means so much to me, and I can’t picture myself putting a different uniform on.”
Cain has a career record of 104-118 with a 3.69 ERA. Despite the below-.500 mark, he’ll leave with a lot of big-time, winning memories.
In 2010, Cain made three starts in the postseason, posting a 0.00 ERA in 21⅓ innings as the Giants won their first crown since 1954, when the club was based in New York.
Cain will end a tenure in which only Marichal and Gaylord Perry have thrown more innings and only Marichal and Tim Lincecum have struck out more batters in the franchise’s 60-year history in San Francisco, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
In 2012, he threw a perfect game against Houston, striking out 14. Cain set a career high in wins that year, going 16-5.
That October, he won the deciding Game 5 of the NL Division Series against Cincinnati, then topped St. Louis in Game 7 of the NL Championship Series.
He also started in Game 4 of the World Series against Detroit, with the Giants winning in the 10th inning to finish off a sweep.
He missed the 2014 postseason, when the Giants won a third World Series title, after elbow surgery ended his season early.
“His play on the field and community service exemplifies what a true big leaguer should be and he will definitely be missed,” Giants President and CEO Larry Baer said in a statement. “He’ll forever be a Giant.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Cain, who was moved to the bullpen during the season, has meant a lot to the organization and is well respected among his teammates.