Giants spring training Day 32: Bumgarner returns to mound


Giants spring training Day 32: Bumgarner returns to mound

SCOTTSDALE — After returning to the rotation, Madison Bumgarner said his sore foot and side felt “even better than expected.” He hardly felt any pain, and both ailments should go away with a bit more treatment. 

“It was a big plus for the day,” he said. 

So … all good?

“My delivery was terrible,” he added. “That’s a minus.”

Bumgarner hasn’t quite locked in on the mound yet, and he said he’s opening up too soon as he comes to the plate. His arm then has to catch up, so his command has been spotty at times. That’s an easy fix, though. Bumgarner has felt a little off mechanically on the mound but he knows what changes he has to make before Opening Day. The key is being healthy, and he believes he’ll be 100 percent soon.

“Judging by the rate (the healing) is going right now, it seems like it won’t be long at all,” he said. “It didn’t hinder me at all today. I’m really close to normal.”

Bumgarner gave up five runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings, throwing 57 pitches. Today was about getting work in, so Bumgarner went down to the bullpen after he was pulled and simulated getting up on the mound one more time. After a few more pitches his day was done, with just one gaping hole: Because Bumgarner hurt his ribs swinging a bat, the Giants used a DH on Saturday. 

“I’ll play that by feel,” he said. “If I don’t get to hit until the regular season, that’s fine.”

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HEALTH UPDATES: Gregor Blanco said he felt “great” and “awesome” in his return from oblique irritation. Blanco was the DH on Saturday but could play the outfield as soon as tomorrow. This is a sneaky-big year for Blanco, who will be a free agent and might have just one more decent payday in the big leagues. He talked about that at length after the game, and while he knows other teams might come at him with everyday roles, he reiterated that he’ll try to be loyal to the team that gave him a chance in 2012. Blanco said he’s not thinking much about his future right now.

“I’m focused on being here now, and hopefully staying here a long time,” he said.

STOCK RISING: Ehire Adrianza has shown increased versatility by handling first this spring, and as always he’s been steady at second and short. Adrianza also is hitting .297 after coming into camp up about 14 pounds. He certainly has done nothing to lose his grip on a job, assuming he had one coming in. (It could help that Kelby Tomlinson has slumped a bit, and now is hitting .194.) 

THE OLD ANGEL: Pagan didn’t hesitate when a throw got away from the pitcher on a play at first, and he easily took second. With Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker hitting homers, it has become popular on Twitter and certain Bay Area radio shows to suggest a change in left. Ain’t happening, and truth be told, few Giants position players have looked better than Pagan this spring. He’s clearly a different guy after having offseason knee surgery.

“He’s running well,” Bochy said. “He’s really showing a lot of life there. I think the knee problems are over. It’s evident the way he’s running. Just watching that first step, it’s evident he’s healthy.” 

NOTEWORTHY: Johnny Cueto will pitch in a minor league game tomorrow to avoid throwing to a team in the division. That’s a common theme this time of year. Adalberto Mejia and Clayton Blackburn will carry a heavy load in the big league game against the Rockies … Trevor Brown will catch Cueto, which isn’t an accident. I’ve had three different pitchers mention this week how much they like throwing to Brown. He’s really making a hard charge down here. 

Watch Pablo Sandoval smack walk-off home run to push Giants over Cubs

Watch Pablo Sandoval smack walk-off home run to push Giants over Cubs

Another game, another walk-off win.

The Giants kept the good times rolling Tuesday night after Pablo Sandoval delivered a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 13th inning to beat the Cubs 5-4 at Oracle Park.

On the first pitch of the at-bat, Sandoval lined a solo shot to the opposite field off Cubs reliever Brad Brach. It was a nice way for the Kung Fu Panda to redeem himself, after he had gone hitless in five at-bats earlier in the night.

Sandoval's clutch homer makes it 17 wins for the Giants in their last 20 games. They're now a season-best two games above .500, and just two games out of a playoff spot.

Rookie Sam Coonrod got the win for San Francisco, after he pitched a scoreless inning against the heart of Chicago's order in the top of the 13th.

Cubs vs. Giants lineups: Madison Bumgarner makes possible final home start

Cubs vs. Giants lineups: Madison Bumgarner makes possible final home start

Only one thing can be true: Either Madison Bumgarner is making his final home start in a Giants uniform against the Cubs on Tuesday night at Oracle Park, or he's not being moved at the rapidly approaching MLB trade deadline.

Given San Francisco's recent hot streak -- the Giants have won 16 of their last 19 games and now sit just two games out of a playoff spot -- it doesn't seem nearly as likely that Bumgarner (5-7, 3.65 ERA) will be traded as it did just a few weeks ago. The Giants are fully in the thick of the playoff race, and have their best pitcher taking the mound against Chicago.

[RELATED: Looking back at MadBum's unique dominance at Oracle Park]

Bumgarner has been on fire as of late, having gone 2-0 with a 1.55 ERA in his past five starts, with 34 strikeouts in 29 innings. The left-hander has posted a 9-2 career record against the Cubs, who have struggled against southpaws so far this season. Chicago ranks 13th out of 15 National League teams with a .242 batting average against lefties.

Opposing Bumgarner for the Cubs will be Yu Darvish (3-4, 4.46 ERA), who has yet to allow a run in 12 innings since the All-Star break. In wins over the Pirates and Reds, Darvish allowed just four hits and struck out 15 to just one walk.

The Giants will go with a lefty-heavy lineup against the Cubs' right-hander, with Alex Dickerson starting in left field and batting cleanup.

Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming on the My Teams app.

Here are the full Cubs-Giants lineups:

San Francisco Giants (51-50)
Brandon Belt, 1B
Buster Posey, C
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Alex Dickerson, LF
Brandon Crawford, SS
Mike Yastrzemski, RF
Kevin Pillar, CF
Joe Panik, 2B
Madison Bumgarner, LHP (5-7, 3.65 ERA)

Chicago Cubs (54-46)
Kyle Schwarber, LF
Javier Baez, SS
Kris Bryant, 3B
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Albert Almora Jr., CF
Jason Heyward, RF
Robel Garcia, 2B
Victor Caratini, C
Yu Darvish, RHP (3-4, 4.46 ERA)