SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner always thought it was odd that so much was made of his poor numbers while rehabbing last season. An ace's rehab ERA doesn't matter, but just in case, Bumgarner went out and dominated this time around.
The left-hander gave up two hits -- including a solo homer -- and struck out seven in 4 2/3 innings for the San Jose Giants on Thursday night. Bumgarner threw 74 pitches, getting into the desired range. His next stop: AT&T Park, for a Tuesday season debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Giants had considered bringing Bumgarner back on Friday night for the start of a six-game homestand, but all involved decided that caution was smart, and Bumgarner was sent to San Jose to extend his pitch count. In two rehab starts, one in High-A and one in Triple-A, Bumgarner allowed just two hits and one run over 8 1/3 innings. He struck out 15.
The minor league numbers are a continuation of a strong spring that had Bumgarner looking poised for a career year. A line drive back to the mound fractured his pinky finger at the end of the spring, but the Giants are finally set to get their ace back.