3/14/2014 8:36 P.M. ET
Bumgarner feels 'almost there' in prep for opener
By Chris Haft / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Madison Bumgarner has allowed five hits in 10 shutout innings spanning three exhibition starts against Major League competition, including Friday's five-inning, two-hit performance in the Giants' 4-0 victory over Colorado.
Yet Bumgarner stated that he didn't consider himself fully ready for the regular season and his March 31 Opening Night start at Arizona.
"I feel like I'm almost there," said Bumgarner, who wants to improve his command despite walking just one batter in Cactus League play this year. He allowed one hit, walked two and fanned five in four shutout innings against a squad of Giants prospects last Sunday.
Bumgarner also must increase his endurance, which was why he returned to the bullpen to increase his pitch count by throwing eight to 10 pitches. Bumgarner estimated that his final pitch count reached "75-ish," leaving him about 15 to 20 pitches short of what he'll need to be capable of by the start of the season.
Neither of the hits Bumgarner allowed the Rockies left the infield. With one out in the second inning, Matt McBride hit a grounder that grazed Bumgarner's glove and bounced toward shortstop Ehire Adrianza. Three innings later, Paul Janish bunted up the third-base line for a hit.
Giants considering plans for Scutaro's debut
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy estimated Friday that second baseman Marco Scutaro, who's enduring back pain, might be able to perform in a game by next Tuesday or Wednesday if he avoids physical setbacks before then.
Scutaro participated in on-field drills and batting practice for the third day in a row, prompting Bochy to set his tentative timetable.
Bochy emphasized that Scutaro must be able to swing relatively pain-free before he'll be allowed to play. Scutaro still appeared to be refraining from taking unbridled cuts in batting practice, in Bochy's view.
"We'd have to get to a point where he feels comfortable letting the bat go and not feel gingerly about it," Bochy said.
The Giants have a scheduled off-day Wednesday, so Scutaro would appear in a Minor League intrasquad game or exhibition if he opted to make his playing debut on that afternoon.
• Despite hitting two home runs Friday against Colorado, right fielder Hunter Pence refused to declare himself prepared to open the regular season. "I'll be ready whenever it's that [Opening] day," Pence said after the Giants' 4-0 triumph. "Until then, I'm going to be working to get ready. If I felt like I was ready now, maybe I'd lose some focus. There's always room to continue to grow."
• The Giants optioned infielder Nick Noonan and outfielder Roger Kieschnick to Triple-A Fresno, leaving 41 players in camp. Bochy said either player still could make the Opening Day roster by performing impressively when summoned from Minor League camp to appear in Cactus League exhibitions, as Noonan did last year. But Bochy also emphasized that roster space needed to be cleared to allow projected regulars to receive three to four at-bats per game.
• Bochy said center fielder Angel Pagan (lower back tightness) had "a chance" of returning to the lineup as early as Sunday against Cleveland.
• Left fielder Tyler Graham, imported from Minor League camp to play in the late innings, made the catch of the day in the Giants' victory over Colorado. Graham raced toward the foul line and flung himself with glove outstretched to snare Nolan Arenado's sixth-inning line drive backhanded.