Giants place Madison Bumgarner on disabled list after dirt bike accident

Giants place Madison Bumgarner on disabled list after dirt bike accident

DENVER -- The coaching staff always looks forward to an off day for a struggling team, but at the same time, those rare days come with a certain sense of fear. On Thursday, those fears were realized.

Madison Bumgarner had a dirt bike accident in the Denver area Thursday and sustained bruised ribs and a sprain of his throwing shoulder. Bumgarner was briefly hospitalized and the initial diagnosis of the injury was a grade one or two AC sprain. The Giants did not immediately have a timetable for return. Bumgarner was resting at the team hotel Friday and he will be reevaluated next week.

“Here’s a young guy who, like a lot of us, thinks you’re invincible,” said manager Bruce Bochy, who met with Bumgarner before coming to Coors Field. “He was having some fun and he hit a slippery spot and went down … If I was there, sure, I wouldn’t have let him on the bike. I sure looking back, Madison wishes he hadn’t gone on. He was remorseful. Hopefully this is a lesson learned throughout our club and sports, that you’ve got to be careful.”

Bumgarner was not with teammates when the accident happened. Bochy said he drove himself back to the team hotel and called trainer Dave Groeschner, who took Bumgarner to a local hospital for X-rays, an MRI and a CT scan. He is expected to stay in the Denver area through the weekend but was not expected to address the situation until Monday.

Ty Blach will take Bumgarner's spot in the rotation and start Tuesday against the Dodgers. Right-hander Chris Stratton was called up to take Blach's bullpen spot.

"You don't worry about making it up, honestly," pitching coach Dave Righetti said. "You worry about their health (and) we'll see all that as it progresses ... Off days are the freaking worst for all of us and have been for years, but we don't get many and when we do guys do things they might be missing out on."

Righetti and Bumgarner exchanged texts, and Righetti and several players said that the injuries could have been much worse, given what they knew about the accident. The clubhouse was closed for a team meeting Friday afternoon as players learned details about the situation.

"The main thing here is to be grateful he's not hurt worse than he is," catcher Buster Posey said. "You have to look at that. We're thankful he's not hurt any worse."

There is no downplaying the blow the Giants have taken on the field. The Giants have not won any of Bumgarner's four starts -- he has received five total runs of support -- but he has a 3.00 ERA and looked headed for his best all-around season. Bumgarner hit two homers in the season opener. This is his first DL stint.

Posey said the Giants, already off to a slow start, can't press.

"Baseball is the type of sport where sometimes if you try to do more it works against you," he said. "I do believe you can intensify your focus, but there's a line you've got to go up to and not go over."

Players generally have clauses in their contracts that prohibit any off-field activities that could be viewed as dangerous. The contracts are detailed, and several players said Friday that they are not allowed to ride dirt bikes, but that all contracts include different language. It's not known if Bumgarner's contract included wording about dirt bikes, but the Giants do not plan to impose any punishment. 

Giants' Heliot Ramos could make MLB debut in 2020, Gabe Kapler says

Giants' Heliot Ramos could make MLB debut in 2020, Gabe Kapler says

The start to MLB's ramp-up to the season certainly hasn't gone smooth. Four Giants already have tested positive for the coronavirus, and workouts at Oracle Park were suspended Tuesday pending the results of tests conducted this past weekend. 

If there actually is a season this year, Giants fans could get a glimpse of their exciting future. Manager Gabe Kapler already has raved about 18-year-old Marco Luciano, catcher Joey Bart is set to learn another position to help his major-league chances in the near future and a 20-year-old outfielder could make his MLB debut this season. It certainly didn't take long for Heliot Ramos to impress Kapler.

"I'm never one to rule anything out, and Ramos has shown especially well in these first couple of days," Kapler said Monday on KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks" show. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Ramos, the Giants' first-round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, might have been their most impressive prospect last year. He spent the entire season as a 19-year-old and made it all the way to Double-A Richmond. Through 77 games in Class A San Jose, Ramos hit .306 with 13 homers and 18 doubles before playing his final 25 games in Richmond. 

He only played two games with the big league club in spring training, but he did crush a two-run homer against the Colorado Rockies. On Monday, he opened eyes yet again with his approach at the plate. 

"He had another couple of good at-bats (Monday), just missed a hanging slider ... the whole camp kind of opened their mouths like, 'He really just missed putting that ball in the seats,' " Kapler said. "His engine is really incredible. Excellent bat speed, good throwing arm, smart kid, really great to have around." 

[RELATED: Giants could have some tough decisions with outfielders]

Ramos likely would have started the season in Triple-A Sacramento this year, or even played a few more games in Richmond. Now as he's part of the Giants' 60-man roster, he'll be in Sacramento at the Giants' sister site when the MLB season begins.

But at only 20 years old, Ramos could be in San Francisco playing for the Giants as soon as this season. 

"Wouldn't rule anything out," Kapler said. "Likelihood is there's probably a little more development there."

Why Gabe Kapler isn't worried about Giants suspending camp Tuesday

Why Gabe Kapler isn't worried about Giants suspending camp Tuesday

The Giants have spent weeks preparing for every possibility that might pop up during a spring training held at Oracle Park amid a continued coronavirus outbreak.

But there's one thing they could not have planned for, a hurdle nobody quite saw coming across the league. 

A missing FedEx truck. 

On Tuesday the Giants announced that their afternoon workout had been canceled because they are awaiting test results from Saturday. Manager Gabe Kapler said the Giants, like at least a half-dozen other teams, had issues relating to their courier who was supposed to take a round of COVID-19 tests to MLB's facility in Utah. Because the Giants did not have Saturday's results back, they were unable to take the field Tuesday.

A few players, mostly pitchers, were able to take part in a light workout in the morning before the staff made the decision to call off the day's activities. Kapler said he's confident Saturday's test results will come back Tuesday at some point, allowing the Giants to take the field as planned Wednesday. 

While some executives around the league have blasted MLB's handling of all this, Kapler was diplomatic, saying he has a "level of empathy for everybody" working hard to keep camps running across the league.

"Nobody expected this to be easy," Kapler said, "And everybody is doing the best that they can."

It will have to be better, though. Players already have a high level of distrust with the league and trepidation about playing this season, as Buster Posey made clear Saturday. Continued issues could lead to a wave of players opting out before the season even starts, and people across the game have said publicly the last couple of days that they need to see MLB clean up the process. 

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

The issues started over the weekend when the A's were unable to hold a workout because their test results had been delayed by a lack of pickups over the holiday weekend. On Monday, the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros had to cancel workouts because of delays for Friday's testing. The Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels also have had to push back workouts. 

Players are supposed to be tested every other day, and Kapler was hopeful that the process would get back on track quickly. The Giants had another round of testing Monday and hope to get that back Wednesday. Kapler was confident the protocols would be better figured out in the coming days. 

"I feel as confident today as I did yesterday," he said. "I understand that there's going to be hiccups along the way. I think our club does, as well. Our players and staff are included in that. I still have confidence for sure."

[RELATED: Three observations about Giants' schedule]

The Giants were supposed to hold their first intrasquad scrimmage on Tuesday. They had moved it up a few days because camp had been going well over the weekend, and there is some urgency to all of this. The Giants will open at Dodger Stadium on July 23, and while they have not had any known big leaguers test positive for COVID-19 -- four members of the organization have, overall -- there is very little time to get the healthy players ready. 

Kapler, though, focused on the positive. He said this would not be a significant setback, noting that it could be a needed break for players, coaches and support staff, most of whom rushed to San Francisco in the last two weeks and jumped right into a modified camp with extreme safety protocols. Kapler said the Giants would use this as a "mental recovery day."

"There's some benefit to that," he said.