Programming note: Watch the encore presentation of Matt Cain's perfect game from 2012 -- This Saturday, Sept. 30 immediately following Warriors basketball at 8 p.m. and Sunday morning Oct. 1, at 8 a.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area.
PHOENIX — Madison Bumgarner didn’t hesitate when asked if he remembers the first time he met Matt Cain. Bumgarner said it was his first spring with the Giants, and he was going down the clubhouse stairs. Cain was coming up them, and he introduced himself. A friendship built from there.
That’s been the case for so many Giants. Cain, drafted in 2002 and in the big leagues since 2005, has been a welcoming presence for rookies, journeymen, big free agent signings and even members of the coaching staff. He is revered, and that made Wednesday a special day for the Giants despite the final result.
Sam Dyson blew a two-run lead in the ninth and the Giants lost their final road game 4-3, but about an hour before the first pitch, they had a special moment in the clubhouse. Cain stood up in front of his peers and announced his retirement in a ceremony that he said got emotional at times.
Cain will make his final appearance in the big leagues when he starts Saturday against the Padres. Buster Posey, who has played first base most of the last month, will be behind the plate. He said he wouldn’t have it any other way. He wants to be there when Cain finishes a 13-year-run in orange and black.
“That’s something he’s proud of and he should be proud of,” Posey said. “You don’t see that happen very often. For him to be up as young as he was and to stay here for 13 years is a great accomplishment.”
The Saturday assignment was one of the factors that played into Bruce Bochy ending Bumgarner’s season a week early. Bumgarner, for his part, called Cain one of his best friends, and said he’s looking forward to Matt Cain Day.
“He’s a special person and one of the better Giants to ever put on this uniform,” Bumgarner said. “He gave us the best he had every time … he’s had an unbelievable career, and I’m just happy to have been a part of it.”
The Giants have not announced or hinted at any post-career discussions with Cain, but they hope to do what they always do. Bochy said he would like Cain around, and the right-hander — who has taken several young pitchers under his wing this season — will forever be a welcome guest in the clubhouse or at spring training. Bochy said he was struck by Cain’s success, but also the way he has handled his final years, when injuries and age have limited his effectiveness.
“I can’t thank him enough for all he has done — he’s been great this year,” Bochy said. “He was moved around (in the rotation) and pitched in the bullpen and he never came into this office one time to complain. That’s something I’ll never forget. He’s just a complete Giant with the way he carried himself and how he played.”