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D-backs GM Mike Hazen OK with MadBum’s other interests

Newly aquired Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner, center, holds his new jersey with general manager Mike Hazen, right, and manager Tory Lovullo during a team availability, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Arizona gives a lot of reasons to want to live here. That ranges from Old Town Scottsdale to Old Town Road.

Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen understands that. It’s why he seemed cool with Madison Bumgarner on Wednesday, even after the news that Bumgarner had assumed the name Mason Saunders and competed in team roping events.

“It happened before he got here, he has been riding horses his entire life, we knew it was part of what he loved to do as we were doing background on him in signing here,” Hazen told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “Quite frankly, I think it was one of our advantages, where we were situated, to trying to be able to sign him.

“Look, players have things outside in their lives that they do in the offseason. We want them to be able to take a deep breath to get away from the game. The game can be very tiresome mentally, just given the grind of seven months of the season. But we want it done safely, too. I think his health and safety is number one priority for us and for him. And when we talk to him over the last few months, we know where his priorities are in terms of helping us win and getting to the postseason, and move on from there.”

Hazen even admitted that he’d learned more about the rodeo in the wake of the recent news.

“No, I will not be going to a rodeo. I watch it on TV sometimes when I’m just going through the channels. But maybe I will. Who knows?” Hazen said. “It looks very interesting. I know these guys are pretty elite at what they do. I’ve had the chance to, in recent days, brush up on it a little bit. So it seems like a pretty interesting sport.”

There is the issue of Bumgarner’s contract, however. Some sports contracts have clauses against certain activities that are dangerous.

“I’m not going to get into any specifics on that type of stuff,” Hazen said. “It’s a fair question and I totally get it. That stuff will stay with us in-house in how those things are handled. Guys need to get breaks from the game, whatever it is, but they need to do so in a manner that’s going to put their health and safety first, and that of their teammates, and their team and themselves, for their own career and what they’re trying to accomplish.”


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