Giants' manager Bruce Bochy made a "just for kicks" decision yesterday, giving a 19-year-old kid the nod as a starting pitcher when the scheduled Jonathan Sanchez was suffering from a bum finger. But the 19-year-old kid April Fooled the Dodgers for three solid innings. Madison Bumgarner, who has not played in a single major league game and pitched all of two innings through out this entire spring training, held the Dodgers to one hit and no runs in three innings -- and struck out Manny Ramirez on three pitches.
Bumgarner, 19, was 2007's tenth overall selection in the draft and spent last year in the minor leagues. Barring a catastrophe with Tim Lincecum's arm or Barry Zito's psyche, Bumgarner will stay in the minors again this year. But from the looks of his performance yesterday, the Giants can count on having yet another stud starter as early as next season.
Manny Ramirez was in good spirits after getting whiffed by the 19-year-old.
"He's great.," Manny told The Chronicle after the strike-out, referring to Bumgarner. "He's nasty. Nineteen? Wow. That's unbelievable. He's great. Good fastball, good curveball and sneaky."
It wasn't just Manny being Manny -- four Dodgers were struck out in Bumgarner's three innings. Bumgarner will now head back to the Class A San Jose, where he was last year's Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
And Giants fans can't wait until this "Bum" gets called up to the big leagues.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is thrilled that this unbearably long Spring Training is about to give way to real baseball.