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Bumgarner could return sooner than expected



6-foot-5, 250-pound grown men aren’t accustomed to taking baby steps, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise Giants’ left-hander Madison Bumgarner is making significant progress in his recovery from a shoulder sprain.

Bumgarner suffered the sprain in a late April dirt-biking incident, and was initially expected to miss at least three months of the Giants’ season.

This week, however, Bumgarner has taken another big step forward in his recovery process, as he threw off the bullpen mound at AT&T Park for the second time in three days on Sunday.

Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy said Bumgarner threw about 30 pitches –all fastballs– and looked “impressive” in his stint.

“Not 100 percent but he was letting them go,” Bochy said.

Bumgarner threw off the mound for the first time since his injury on Friday afternoon, when he threw 20 pitches.

The Giants’ hope was to have Bumgarner back by the end of July or early August, but now, there’s a possibility the three-time World Series champion could return after the All-Star Break.

Bochy said the plan for Bumgarner is to throw to hitters this week when the Giants visit Colorado, and perhaps have the team’s ace toss a simulated game.

Bumgarner made just four starts before suffering his injury, recording an 0-3 record and a 3.00 earned run average.

Bochy wouldn’t commit to a date for Bumgarner’s return, but all signs from the Giants’ skipper suggest the team will have its top starter back in the rotation at some point in the month of July.