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Why MadBum expects normal, low-key first start vs. Giants

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A day before facing the Giants for the first time, Madison Bumgarner said he never really thought about retiring in orange and black. But that has very little to do with the Giants. 

"I haven't thought about retiring yet," Bumgarner said Friday, smiling. 

Perhaps in a decade or so the Giants will have Bumgarner back for a ceremony, retiring his number or putting him on their Wall of Fame. For now, that's the furthest thing from his mind. 

Bumgarner returned to Oracle Park on Friday hoping to show that he's past a back strain that thus far has wrecked his Arizona Diamondbacks career, and knowing him, he might just be angling for a sweep that could allow his new team to start dreaming about October again. There's very little time right now for nostalgia. 

"I'm a pretty easy going guy. Guys have been asking me if it's weird coming in on the other side," Bumgarner said. "It was nice to be back and see a lot of the guys that I knew and played with and worked with, the staff over there. There's a lot of new faces for sure. It's pretty much completely different, it looks like. I was excited to come back here and just see the city."

That's about as much as Bumgarner had to say on his old team. As in February, he didn't want to get into specifics about what led to him signing with a division rival. He said he has no regrets, no bitterness, no feelings about how crazy it will be for Bumgarner to take the mound at Oracle Park and face the Giants, not star for them. 

 

"I'm anticipating and planning on it being just another start for me," Bumgarner said. 

That won't be the case for most people watching. After 11 years with the Giants and three World Series titles, Bumgarner signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the Diamondbacks in December that thus far has not lived up to expectations on either end. The Diamondbacks looked like a contender in the preseason, but have been the worst team in the NL West. Bumgarner's first four starts contributed to that. 

As he tried to pitch through the back injury, Bumgarner allowed 18 earned runs in 17 1/3 innings. His fastball averaged 88 mph. On Friday, Bumgarner said he was thrown off by the long delay and short summer camp.

"I've got to get past that and not worry about how hard I'm throwing," Bumgarner said. "For me, it's always been about making pitches anyway."