Categories: Breaking News MLB

Spring training digest: MadBum hits his stride, A’s shuffle pitching staff

Madison Bumgarner was in midseason form — both on the mound and at the plate  — during the San Francisco Giants’ resounding 13-0 win over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday afternoon at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Arizona.

Bumgarner, who’s preparing for his fifth consecutive opening day assignment, clamped down on the Rockies, holding the full-strength lineup to a lone hit and pair of walks while striking out five in six scoreless innings.

The ace also uppercutted a towering home run — 445 feet per MLB.com — that landed well beyond the left-center field wall in the seventh, his first long ball of the spring. Bumgarner’s big day comes at the ideal moment, as the Giants are set to break camp in Arizona on Friday. Bumgarner would be on schedule to face the Kansas City Royals in that get-away-day matinee.

The starter was one of four Giants — along with Hunter Pence Pablo Sandoval and Nick Hundley — to leave the park.

Sandoval, locked in for a reserve role, figures to provide the team with a skill set it was badly lacking last season: firepower off the bench. The Giants had five pinch-hit home runs in 2017.

The younger brother of the Giants’ slayer joins the club. With the club facing off against the Rockies and orange and black nemesis Nolan Arenado, the Giants summoned Jonah Arenado, the younger brother of the three-time All-Star, from minor league camp.

Arenado, who spent last season for High-A San Jose, totaling 13 home runs, was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts. Subbing in for third baseman Evan Longoria in the sixth, Arenado did impress with his glove:

A’s send down top prospect A.J. Puk, bring back familiar face. As part of a wave of nine roster cuts, the A’s reassigned the left-handed Puk to minor league camp on Sunday, dashing the 2016 first-round pick’s chances of making the opening day rotation.

While Puk exited, former A’s right-hander Trevor Cahill returned, landing on a one-year deal (pending a physical), per Jane Lee of MLB.com.

Puk, 22, who’d made just five starts at the Double-A level, forced his way into the starting conversation by beginning the spring with 10 scoreless innings. His final Cactus League outing (four earned run in 2.2 inning) put an end to his unblemished ledger.

“There was a lot of speculation with him, and rightly so, based on the way he was pitching,” manager Bob Melvin said, per Lee. “I think [executive vice president of baseball operations] Billy [Beane] said it best — is it fair to him to rush him up here just because at one point in time it looked like there was a need?”

The demotion is defensible both from a developmental and financial perspective. By sending Puk back to the minor leagues, the A’s will delay the lefty’s arbitration clock and ensure an extra year of club control.

Cahill, who last pitched for the A’s in 2011, split last season with the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres. Most notably, Cahill delivered a 3.69 ERA and a 10.6 strikeout-per-nine ratio in 11 starts for the Pads.

Josh Phegley hits the shelf. The prohibitive odd man out after last week’s addition of Jonathan Lucroy, Phegley won’t be playing any baseball for at least two weeks after fracturing the pinkie and ring finger on his right hand. Per Lee, Phegley sustained the injury when he was hit with a foul tip in the ninth inning on Saturday.

Karl Buscheck

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Karl Buscheck

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