Madison Bumgarner is OK. The prized left arm will throw again. A 98-mph comebacker did not break him. Exhale.
Madison, he was asked, do you feel like you dodged a bullet?
“I don’t know, I feel like I jumped right in front of one,” he countered.
The Giants ace and the ace of the trade market still had his elbow and humor after the first-inning Jose Martinez line drive ricocheted off him, beginning a short saga of Bumgarner trying to pitch until the Giants decided he had to stop.
With a large lump just north of his left, throwing elbow, Bumgarner hung in, eating two innings and even taking an at-bat with what the team termed an elbow contusion. He walked back to the mound to (allegedly) try to start the third inning, but he said that was a strategic move. Once on the mound, Bruce Bochy and trainer Dave Groeschner yanked him — because of the injury, Sam Dyson was given all the time he needed to warm up.
“In order to get our reliever a chance to warm up properly, I gotta go out there and throw a couple and come out,” Bumgarner said after the Giants beat the Cardinals, 8-4, at Oracle Park on Saturday.
Bumgarner had staved off the Giants training staff for a while, arguing that while “it looks nasty,” it never tightened up on him. Yet when Bumgarner didn’t fight the possibility of the hook, Bochy knew damage had been done.
“It got him really good. You could see the big lump there where it hit him,” Bochy said after five Giants relievers picked up the slack. “… You know Madison, how tough he is. He didn’t wave us off. So I knew it got him pretty good there.”
After his X-rays came back negative, Bumgarner was asked if he felt he dodged a bullet.
— KNBR (@KNBR) July 7, 2019
It could have been worse. Bumgarner wore a protective sleeve during his second-inning at-bat and postgame interview, but nothing inside that sleeve was broken. Bumgarner said he could pitch in five days, even if that’s not something the Giants are asking.
The welt comes on the penultimate game before the All-Star break, so even the timing works in the team’s and pitcher’s favor. Bochy said he expects Bumgarner to pitch Saturday, but left the door open to push the 29-year-old back if needed.
Bumgarner said he was never fearful of a break and didn’t have any flashbacks to the spring-training line drive that delayed his 2018 season.
“It looked bad. It felt fine for the rest of the game,” said the prime trade chip. “[Pitching coach] Curt [Young] and the training staff were a little uncomfortable with all the swelling there. … Whatever they think is best.”
So when Bochy said, “We got a break,” he was referring to the good kind of break.