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Lovullo: Back spasms reason behind Madison Bumgarner’s benching

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) throws a pitch against San Diego Padres Manny Machado (13) in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Derrick Tuskan)

Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo cleared the air before reporters asked any questions when it came to starter Madison Bumgarner’s performance Sunday afternoon.

Managing just two innings of work and allowing four home runs in the process to the San Diego Padres in Arizona’s 9-5 loss, Bumgarner was clearly off his mark.

But there’s more than just the poor outing that led to the ace’s removal from the game.

“I elected to removed him from the game because of back spasms in his lower back,” Lovullo said after the game. “Those are obviously tough decisions for me but I felt like it was the right thing to do with him trying to gut it out but it was time to turn it over to the bullpen.”

Lovullo added he doesn’t think this has been an issue in the past and the issue was “something that jumped up and bothered him today.”

Bumgarner, who met with the media after Lovullo, said the back spasms began in the middle of the night on Saturday, but didn’t think it was going to be an issue in his start initially.

“I came over [to the ballpark] and started getting it worked on right away,” Bumgarner said after the game. “It got a little bit better, good enough where I thought I could go out there and give us what we could and hopefully try and save the bullpen a little bit and keep us in the game, which I wound up doing neither one. That sucks, just a tough, tough situation.”

Bumgarner said he never felt anything like this before, but insisted he and the team are going to figure out and get it right moving forward.

Instead of traveling with the team to Colorado, the pitcher will head to the Valley for further evaluation from the D-backs’ doctor on Monday, Lovullo said.

Lovullo added he’s not sure about the pitcher’s availability for his next start.

It’s been a rough go for Bumgarner since donning the Sedona Red.

Entering play Sunday, the pitcher sported an 0-2 record over his last three starts. In 15.1 innings pitched, Bumgarner allowed 15 hits and 13 runs (12 earned) over the span.

Now, looking at an 0-3 record and an injury, the frustration mounts for the team’s biggest offseason signing in an abbreviated year.

“I’ve had my fair share of [frustrating times], but this is for sure up there,” Bumgarner said. “Coming to a new place, wanting to do good. And then this type of season of top of that nothing has worked out the way I wanted it to go.

“But you got to just roll with it and try to do the best you can. That’s what I’m doing, trying to get to where I want to be and need to be to give these guys a chance to win when I go out there.”

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