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Bumgarner won’t start for ‘several’ games as he finds form with D-backs

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Heads up, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner warned David Peralta on Thursday. It’s my first live batting practice of spring training. My command might not be there.

It wasn’t. Not immediately, at least. A pitch sailed high and in on Peralta, dropping him to the ground, where he did a few pushups before getting back up.

“I was trying to show him ‘Hey, don’t worry, I’m not scared’ — I got scared,” Peralta said. “I got scared.”

As Bumgarner gets used to a new environment after changing MLB teams for the first time in his career, he’s working out the kinks of the offseason.

“I know it’s not going to be midseason form first time out there, but I would like it to be, so it’s always disappointing,” he said. “But on the other hand, it feels good to get out there, see some hitters, face some hitters, guys swinging. The feel and stuff is not quite there, but that’s normal for this time of year.” 

The good news: His arm and body feels good after the 25-pitch session. That’s what matters at this point spring training.

Bumgarner said his fastball felt “pretty good” but the command of secondary pitches, particularly his slider, were less sharp.

Manager Torey Lovullo said he saw improvement as the session went on.

“At the tail end of it he started to lock it in and I think that’s part of the process for every pitcher,” Lovullo said.

Bumgarner was one of the final D-backs pitchers to throw his first live session this spring. With the late start, it’ll take a little extra time before Bumgarner appears in a spring training game.

Lovullo said it will be “several games” into the Cactus League schedule before Bumgarner takes the mound. It appears he’ll only need one live game session before appearing in an actual game, though.

“He comes with a huge track record. I just want to make sure that he’s comfortable in the new surroundings with the new teammates,” Lovullo said. “It’s baseball, you don’t do a lot of things too differently, but we want to make sure that we give him as much information to go out and be successful as possible.”

Lovullo needs to see Bumgarner’s pitch count get high enough at practice before he appears in a spring training game.

Other pitcher updates

— Mike Leake, suffering from an injury to his non-throwing wrist, threw a bullpen session yesterday, Lovullo said. His throwing arm is fine; he just needs someone to catch the ball for him.

Lovullo said there’s a two-week table on re-evaluating, but he’s not sure if that short of a time frame will be enough for recovery.

—  The injured J.B. Bukauskas threw a bullpen session Wednesday and was cleared for the next steps in the rehab process, Lovullo said.

Lovullo added that he could get a live session in as early as Friday.


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