Although Madison Bumgarner had been stalled for two months by a broken pinky, the four-time All-Star showed that he may only need a short stay in the Minor Leagues before returning to the San Francisco rotation."I obviously didn't know before today, but judging off the way I felt out there,
Although Madison Bumgarner had been stalled for two months by a broken pinky, the four-time All-Star showed that he may only need a short stay in the Minor Leagues before returning to the San Francisco rotation.
"I obviously didn't know before today, but judging off the way I felt out there, I think so, for sure," he told MLB.com. "I wouldn't say I'd be back and be in midseason form, but I feel definitely good enough to get some outs."
The 2014 World Series MVP was one walk from perfection over 3 2/3 innings Saturday night as the River Cats blanked Albuquerque, 2-0, before a sellout crowd at Raley Field. Bumgarner recorded eight of his 11 outs by strikeout in his first appearance since breaking the pinkie on his pitching hand in Spring Training.
"The breaking stuff was moving right, the command of it was good," Bumgarner told MLB.com. "The fastball command was good. Pretty much everything I was looking for. It's not perfect, but it was definitely something to feel good about for the first time out there."
Fellow rehabbing big leaguer Mark Melancon and Giants No. 4 prospectTyler Beede finished off the Sacramento shutout. Melancon logged a strikeout in a perfect innning and Beede (2-5) worked around two hits and three walks over the final four frames, preserving a no-hitter until Elliot Soto blooped a single to right with one out in the eighth.
The 28-year-old Bumgarner was injured knocking down Whit Merrifield's comebacker with his throwing hand during the Giants' Cactus League finale against the Royals on March 23. He suffered in a fracture of the fifth metacarpal that later required surgery that involved inserting three pins into the finger. He was medically cleared to throw on May 1 and moved gradually to the mound from flat ground over the past month.
Gameday box score
Before last year, Bumgarner made at least 31 starts in each season since he broke into the Majors in 2010. He was limited to 17 appearances in 2017 after an April dirt bike accident caused a Grade 2 sprain of the AC joint in his left shoulder.
On Saturday night, Bumgarner struck out the side in the first and needed only six pitches to get through a perfect second, finishing the frame by fanning Stephen Cardullo. He sandwiched a pair of punchouts around a walk to Anthony Phillips in the third, losing the Albuquerque infielder on a full count.
The three-time World Series champion got Rockies No. 7 prospectGarrett Hampson to fly to center before leading off the bottom of the frame with a line drive single to right on the first pitch he saw in his only at-bat. He returned to the mound for the fourth and got two quick strikeouts before exiting after throwing 31 of 47 pitches for strikes.
"All the baseball stuff, throwing, hitting, all that stuff, I don't notice it at all," Bumgarner said. "It feels completely normal at this point. My command was good. My breaking balls were doing pretty good also, so that's what I was looking for. Everything headed in the right direction."
Tyler Rogers recorded the final out of the fourth before Melancon worked a perfect fifth. The veteran closer made his third rehab appearance since getting a stem cell injection in his pronator -- a forearm muscle that helps flex the elbow -- on April 12.
The 25-year-old Beede, a 2014 first-round pick out of Vanderbilt, made his Major League debut on April 10 before returning to the River Cats six days later. Saturday marked his first relief appearance of the season and he lowered his ERA to 6.23 over 44 innings between Sacramento and Class A Advanced San Jose.
Ronnie Freeman staked the River Cats to a lead with a sacrifice fly in the second and Orlando Calixte widened the gap in the eighth with an inside-the-park homer, his seventh.
Antonio Senzatela (2-1) surrendered a run on four hits with six strikeouts over six innings for Albuquerque.
Gerard Gilberto is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @GerardGilberto4.