Bumgarner OK with not pitching rest of 2022

September 28th, 2022

HOUSTON -- The final road trip of the season for the D-backs didn't start off the way they wanted as they fell, 10-2, to the Astros at Minute Maid Park. The Astros hit five home runs, including two by Jose Altuve, and the D-backs never were able to get anything going offensively.

Here are two things to know about what's happened with the D-backs over the past 24 hours:

1. Madison Bumgarner has no issue with the decision to not pitch him the rest of the way

Sunday, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo announced that Madison Bumgarner would not pitch again this season, saying that the team wanted to look at some of the younger pitchers they've called up recently, as well as have Bumgarner finish the season on a good note.

In what will now be his final appearance of the season, Bumgarner allowed just one run and one hit over six innings against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.

"I mean I like to pitch, I like to compete," Bumgarner said. "But I understand it. It was a conversation that we had about what would be best."

Drey Jameson and Tommy Henry are two of the younger pitchers the D-backs want to see throw again and Lovullo has also wanted to get Merrill Kelly two starts so that has the chance to reach the 200-inning mark, something that is very important to the veteran, who has logged 189 2/3 innings.

"I'm glad we get to see some of the young guys throw," Bumgarner said. "Maybe they get another start where they wouldn't if I was pitching. I'm also hoping that this gives Merrill a clear chance at 200 innings, that's what I'm most excited about."

Bumgarner will finish the year having made 30 starts and throwing 158 2/3 innings. His 4.88 ERA reflects the struggles he's had at times over the course of the year. At times he's looked good, but he's had a hard time staying consistent and finding success.

"It isn't that big of a deal but I'm glad I got to finish on a good note," Bumgarner said. "It's been a grind of a year for me for a lot of reasons."

2. Alek Thomas was optioned to Triple-A Reno

In a bit of a surprise move, the D-backs optioned center fielder Alek Thomas to Triple-A Reno after Sunday afternoon's game.

Thomas was at the top of the D-backs prospect rankings when the season started per MLB Pipeline, and he was called up and made his big league debut May 8. An excellent defensive center fielder, he had success at the plate early, but of late it had been a struggle. Since Aug. 7, Thomas was 22-for-125 (.176) with his only extra-base hits being four doubles.

"We've been wrestling with it," Lovullo said of the decision. "And you know, his name has been coming up as to what do we want to do to help him get better and help him continue progressing forward. So, it was a very difficult decision. It was one that we had been thinking about for a couple days. We just felt like it was going to be the best thing for him at this point in his career. What I explained to him is that [the decision] was hard. These decisions are never easy. And he's still a big part of this organization."

Lovullo said that the organization felt Thomas was not making the necessary adjustments at the plate after opposing pitchers had made an adjustment to how they were pitching him. Pitchers were getting him to chase pitches out of the zone too often.

"He was sent down with some specific instructions," Lovullo said. "Look on one side of the plate and hit on that side. And just shrink the zone. I think he was getting pitched to -- everybody saw what was happening -- and he just could not make a quality adjustment. We felt like it the best chance for him to do that would be in Reno.”

In his first game for Reno on Monday, Thomas was 2-for-5 with a double and a pair of RBIs.