Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner had a rough outing in Tuesday’s Cactus League opener against the A’s, allowing four runs in 12/3 innings, but he said afterward he wasn’t worried about the results.
“Right now, it’s just about getting your arm in shape and being able to make pitches,” said Bumgarner, who threw about 30 pitches. “I would like to go out there and be perfect. But the stuff is good.”
Bumgarner faced 10 batters and allowed five hits. The A’s hit for a team cycle in the first inning, including a two-run home run by shortstop Marcus Semien, en route to a 9-4 win. Bumgarner finished the first inning trailing 3-0, but he came back for the second and retired the first two hitters before Craig Gentry’s single ended his afternoon.
The left-hander threw all his pitches – including one of the slow curves he began mixing in last season – and said his command was “pretty good for the first day.”
Bumgarner already has allowed one more run than he did in all of spring training last year but pointed out that he followed last spring with a 2-3 record and 3.74 ERA in April, indicating Cactus League numbers aren’t a preview of the regular season.
Right now, he said, “It’s just about getting your body back in the rhythm of pitching, facing hitters and competing, making pitches.”
Lincecum pleased – Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum was happy with his one inning, in which he allowed one run when Ben Zobrist hit a leadoff double and scored on two wild pitches.
Lincecum struck out the final two batters, Brett Lawrie and Nate Freiman, and sounded most pleased with his fastball and getting ahead of all four hitters.
“As I get more into situations, I’ll be able to go to my secondary stuff and try to put them away a little bit quicker,” Lincecum said. “I let a couple guys get away from me. But like I said, my fastball felt like it was there.”
Lincecum’s fastball was between 89 and 92 mph, and he mixed in curves and changeups. He has stayed away from his slider most of spring, saying he wants to get a feel of his other pitches first.
“He should’ve been (pleased),” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He had good command with the fastball. He and Bum both had a good delivery. I was pleased with how they threw.”
New rules – Pitchers got their first experience with baseball’s new pace-of-play rules, the most visible of which is a clock in center field for timing changeovers between innings. Pitchers must complete their warmup tosses with at least 30 seconds remaining, which Bumgarner and Lincecum said wasn’t a problem.
Lincecum warms up so quickly, he said he finished with nearly a minute left of his allotted time.
“I was like, do I have to use the 54 seconds?” he said.
Perhaps the biggest adjustment for batters is having to keep one foot in the box between pitches, but catcher Andrew Susac said it wasn’t a major issue.
“I think the umpires also know it’s still a new thing and guys are accidentally going to step out,” Susac said. “Even I did it once, and he was like, ‘Hey, just reminding you.’”
Et cetera – New outfielder Nori Aoki lived up to his reputation as a tough out, seeing eight pitches in his first at-bat in a Giants uniform and finishing 1 for 3. Aoki led off and started in center field because Angel Pagan did not make the trip to Mesa.
“We saw a little bit of what he can do,” Bochy said of Aoki. “Even when he makes an out, it’s probably a pretty good at-bat.”
Pagan was one of several regulars who stayed in Scottsdale, along with Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford.