SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — He was called up to the San Francisco Giants in the middle of the 2010 season and was a major contributor to the team’s drive to the World Series championship.
Catcher Buster Posey had an amazing season.
But the description also fits pitcher Madison Bumgarner.
The left-hander was summoned from Triple-A Fresno on June 26, about a month after Posey, and went on to post a 7-6 record with a 3.00 earned-run average in 18 starts. He gave up three hits in eight shutout innings against Texas to win Game 4 of the World Series.
Now he is back in the Giants’ camp. Part of him is the same as he was a year ago when he was a wide-eyed, 20-year-old, never taking anything for granted, and part of him is much more confident.
“I still have the same attitude. I’m not expecting anything to be handed to me. I’m going to have to work for everything I get,” Bumgarner said before taking the field at Scottsdale Stadium on Tuesday, the team’s first day of workouts for pitchers and catchers.
A year ago, Bumgarner threw amid much fanfare in camp and was thought to be a lock for the starting rotation. It didn’t happen. The death of his sister took an emotional toll and physically his velocity wasn’t where it needed to be.
“Last spring, everybody expected him to make the club, but we decided he wasn’t quite ready,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “But we brought him up and he was ready.
“He did an incredible job, gave us a shot in the arm, particularly down the stretch. He wasn’t even 21 (when he was called up), but he was mature way beyond his years.”
Bumgarner is expected to be part of a rotation that could have Bochy using three left-handers in a row — Bumgarner, Jonathan Sanchez and Barry Zito. Bochy said Tuesday that he would have no problem with that.
Even at this early stage, Bumgarner’s pitches are buzzing toward the plate with greater consistency. Part of that has come with fine-tuning his mechanics with pitching coach Dave Righetti and part of it has come through working with Posey on a regular basis.
Bumgarner also worked with Posey in Fresno, and the transition was smooth when he joined the big club.
Posey, who went on to earn the National League Rookie of the Year award, “has always been able to see what I am doing, good or bad and come and tell me if I need to make a change. We are almost always on the same page,” Bumgarner said.
The memory of the World Series is fresh in Bumgarner’s mind.
“At the time it was happening, it was really surreal,” he said. “To be a part of it as it was happening, experiencing it, was really amazing.”
NOTES: Posey’s magic carried over from 2010. In his first swing, he sent the ball over the fence. Bochy’s advice? “Don’t peak too early.” … Infielder Pablo Sandoval has shown up early for work on his own and looks to be considerably lighter than the 260 or so pounds he played at last season. … Outfielders Cody Ross, Pat Burrell and Nate Schierholtz are working on their own, as are infielders Freddy Sanchez, Travis Ishikawa and Emmanuel Burriss.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)