SAN FRANCISCO - The next step of Madison Bumgarner's rehab was a bit shakier than expected, but positive nonetheless.
Bumgarner threw 3 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Sacramento on Friday night. A talented and free-swinging Fresno Grizzlies (Astros affiliate) squad tagged him for four runs on seven hits, but the most important number came in the pitch count column. With 62 pitches, Bumgarner is well on his way to returning to the big leagues near the start of the second half.
Bumgarner gave up a run in the first on a double, hit-by-pitch, walk and sacrifice fly. In the second inning, the Grizzlies got two singles, two doubles and two more runs. Bumgarner needed 45 pitches to get through the first two frames, but he looked fine physically. His biggest annoyance appeared to be a floating strike zone.
Bumgarner worked around a single in the third and got two outs in the fourth before hitting a designated pitch count.
The River Cats sold out their home park in Bumgarner's first minor league appearance in seven years. He is expected to make a start for the San Jose Giants on July 5.