Returning To Form?
Giants don't seem concerned about Bumgarner
SAN FRANCISCO—Madison Bumgarner didn't appear ready for the major leagues this spring. When he reported to Triple-A Fresno, he didn't appear ready for the Pacific Coast League.
Bumgarner's rough first two starts for the Grizzlies—seven innings, 21 hits, 11 earned runs, three homers—raised the blood pressure of Giants fans and led to anxiety that the organization was hiding an injury with their top pitching prospect.
But general manager Brian Sabean said Bumgarner's problems weren't physical. In a candid assessment, Sabean said the 20-year-old lefthander simply didn't prepare himself over the offseason to win the fifth starter job.
"It's this simple: He was preoccupied this winter and it cost him," Sabean said. "He had personal stuff to straighten out, getting married, and he was ill prepared to come into spring training. I don't know how much he threw to get ready. Some of it is our fault because we didn't track him as well as maybe we should."
Sabean said he was not surprised to see Bumgarner get off to a rough start.
"To compete as a major league pitcher, you can't be in catch-up mode," Sabean said. "He's still in spring training mode, and Triple-A is not forgiving. The (PCL) is a hitter's league, it always has been, and if you make mistakes you won't be forgiven."
Bumgarner did some catching up in his third start. After a visit from vice president and resident pitching sage Dick Tidrow, Bumgarner made a few changes to his mechanics and rebounded with a much better game April 19. He held Portland to three hits and two runs (one earned) in six innings.
Bumgarner's velocity also appears to be gaining, if scoreboard readings are to be believed. He was consistently in the low 90s against Portland, and hit 93 mph. Sabean said he wasn't concerned about the dip in Bumgarner's velocity last year or this spring, saying it was a mechanical issue.
• A preliminary hearing for Giants prospect Angel Villalona was set for April 27 in La Romana, Dominican Republic. A judge will determine whether there is enough evidence to try the 19-year-old slugger on murder charges.
• The Giants signed Cuban righthander Reineir Roibal, who is reportedly one of the top young hurlers from the country. He defected to Mexico in 2009.