Scottsdale Stadium might not be Madison Bumgarner's favorite ballpark.
Pitching in the stadium for his final start of spring training last year, the Giants' ace fractured a bone in his pitching hand. After recovering from surgery, Bumgarner did not make his regular-season debut until June 5, 2018, or 61 games into San Francisco's season.
Bumgarner was not injured Sunday, when he made his first start of the spring ... in the same stadium in which he was hurt 11 months ago. Instead, he gave up six runs (five earned) and five hits, failing to record an out in the second inning before he left the game.
Still, Bumgarner was feeling rather optimistic about his unofficial 2019 debut.
"I'd say that's the best I felt, especially in the first spring outing, in quite some time," Bumgarner told reporters in Scottsdale, via the San Francisco Chronicle. "I was pretty excited about it. It would have been nice to have better results, but I felt pretty good."
Bumgarner made quick work of the Chicago Cubs in the first inning, retiring all three batters on just eight pitches, according to reporters in Scottsdale.
Bumgarner's first inning: two fly outs and a strikeout on eight pitches, seven for strikes. K was called on an 86 mph cutter. Bum talking to the umpire after the inning. (He is not a fan of the pitch clock.)— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) February 24, 2019
Despite the lopsided line in the second inning, Giants manager Bruce Bochy mostly liked what he saw from Bumgarner.
“I’ll start with the stuff, I thought it was good and I was pleased with the stuff,” Bochy said. “He got ahead, got a lot of two-strike counts and didn’t execute the put-away pitches today.”
The left-hander should have plenty of opportunities to execute those pitches this spring. Since 2011, he has made fewer than five appearances in spring training only once (2014). But, Bumgarner is optimistic about his Opening Day readiness for another reason.
"Because I don't have a broke hand or a separated shoulder," he told reporters Sunday.
As you can see, optimism abounds in Giants camp.