D-backs’ Madison Bumgarner makes spring training debut against Rangers

Mar 22, 2022, 8:05 PM
Madison Bumgarner #40 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the bottom of the first inning against...
Madison Bumgarner #40 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the bottom of the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on September 30, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The second act of Madison Bumgarner’s career hasn’t been nearly as successful as the first.

In his third season with the Diamondbacks, the four-time All-Star hopes things will turn around.

The 32-year-old Bumgarner made his spring debut on Tuesday, giving up three runs over 2.1 innings against the Texas Rangers. He gave up a couple of homers but his velocity was a little higher than it has been in recent seasons, hitting 92 or 93 mph on his fastball.

“I was happy with how I felt,” Bumgarner said. “Arm felt good, body felt good.”

The big left-hander will almost certainly need a productive season if the D-backs are to have any hope of competing in the NL West after losing 110 games last season.

Bumgarner signed an $85 million, five-year deal in 2020, a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic upended the baseball world. He had the worst year of his career in that abbreviated season, finishing 1-4 with a 6.48 ERA.

He bounced back somewhat in 2021 as one of the team’s more reliable pitchers, going 7-10 with a 4.67 ERA in 26 starts.

The Diamondbacks have been mostly quiet during the offseason — content to upgrade their bullpen with Mark Melancon and Ian Kennedy — while division rivals made splashy additions like Freddie Freeman (Dodgers) and Kris Bryant (Rockies).

If improvement is going to happen, it’ll probably need to come from players already on the roster. Bumgarner said he has enough experience to know there’s plenty of talent on all 30 major league teams.

“Early in my career, I would have some of my worst games against last-place teams,” Bumgarner said. “You let off that much and you learn pretty quickly that there’s not that big of a difference.”

Bumgarner was one of the most decorated postseason pitchers of the 2010s, helping the San Francisco Giants win the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014. He was the World Series MVP in 2014 after posting a 0.43 ERA over 21 innings.

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