Madison Bumgarner is finally, finally going to get to start his season. In what proved to be the worst way to say goodbye to spring training, Bumgarner took a line drive to his pitching hand and many thought we wouldn’t see him pitch again until after the All Star break.
However, luck was on Bumgarner’s side throughout the healing process, allowing him to stay on track for a June debut.
Bumgarner pitched his first rehab assignment in Sacramento on Saturday, a roaring success. Despite flirting with the idea of bringing him up after that, the team is going to be cautious with his return. He will pitch his second rehab start for San Jose on Thursday where he is expected to increase his pitch count from 45 to 75 pitches.
This couldn’t come at a more needed time for the Giants, as they have been missing their two ace starting pitchers. Johnny Cueto is still resting his arm and doing light throwing after fears of him needed Tommy John surgery had Giants fans sick for more than a week before getting some somewhat optimistic news, but he will still be out for a while.
Unfortunately, shortly after the Bumgarner news came out on Monday, Jeff Samardzija left the game in Colorado after the first inning due to shoulder tightness. He was replaced by Dereck Rodriguez, making his major league debut, who impressed fans with both his pitching and hitting, before he took a come-backer off the shin and left them game shortly after he entered it.
Rodriguez took a 108 mph liner off the right calf. He's coming out. The Giants can't have anything nice.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) May 30, 2018
The team feels absolutely snake-bit right now, and though the continuously optimistic tone of the news coming out about the recovering Giants, who will be returning soon, it is almost enough to keep hope alive to have a set date for Bumgarner’s return. It will help not only with the fans’ confidence, but hopefully with team morale as they grind through a really, really terrible stretch of baseball, having lost six of their last seven games.
Joe Panik is right behind Bumgarner, expected to also rejoin the team next week. And that also could not come at a better time, considering the poor defense Kelby Tomlinson has been producing, and the experiment that was Pablo Sandoval at second base.
Things might, might be looking up for this team. And it’s still early enough in the season to make a difference.