SCOTTSDALE — The Giants have been “slow-playing” just about every veteran this spring, and now their Opening Day starter is temporarily being taken off the field.
Madison Bumgarner said he’ll miss one spring start and possibly two because of a pair of ailments that he described as minor. Bumgarner has a neuroma between joints in his left foot, which has been causing him pain off and on since the offseason. While swinging in the cage in recent days he also felt discomfort in his ribcage. An MRI ruled out an oblique injury.
“It’s two things that are not a big deal, and there’s no sense making them a big deal,” Bumgarner said. “It’s not anything too serious, but I don’t want it to turn into something serious.”
Bumgarner said he has been pitching through the nerve irritation, but the training staff decided to pump the brakes when a second minor injury popped up. He said that if Sunday’s scheduled start was a regular season appearance he would be on the mound, and he believes there’s plenty of time remaining to get his pitch count high enough to face the Brewers on April 4. Bumgarner is already in the mid-50s with his pitch count after two spring starts.
“There’s no sense trying to push through something (right now) and take a chance,” Bumgarner said.
Bumgarner played catch on Saturday but he doesn’t have a timetable to throw again. The Giants will shut him down for at least one start and Bumgarner acknowledged that they’re leaving the door open for him to miss a second Cactus League appearance.
Asked if the Giants are worried about the nerve pain, general manager Bobby Evans said: “No, it’s just irritation.” Bumgarner didn’t show much concern while giving an update on his status, and he’s taking the break in stride.
Will the fact that he felt rib pain while swinging a bat keep him from future pinch-hit appearances?
“No,” Bumgarner said quickly, smiling. “No. No.”