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Giants peg Bumgarner's return to rotation

Lefty starts Saturday against the Padres at Petco Park
MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- As Madison Bumgarner thwacked batting-practice fastballs into the Western Metal Building on Thursday, Giants manager Bruce Bochy looked on, happy to finally have his ace back.

During the Giants' workout at Petco Park, Bochy officially announced that Bumgarner will rejoin San Francisco's rotation Saturday against the Padres. The left-hander has been out since he suffered bruised ribs and a Grade 2 left shoulder strain in a dirt-bike accident in April.

SAN DIEGO -- As Madison Bumgarner thwacked batting-practice fastballs into the Western Metal Building on Thursday, Giants manager Bruce Bochy looked on, happy to finally have his ace back.

During the Giants' workout at Petco Park, Bochy officially announced that Bumgarner will rejoin San Francisco's rotation Saturday against the Padres. The left-hander has been out since he suffered bruised ribs and a Grade 2 left shoulder strain in a dirt-bike accident in April.

"We missed his voice -- and his BP," Bochy said. "... It's going to be great to have him back. It was an unfortunate incident he feels terrible about. It's seemed a lot longer than it's been for him, as far as his return. You've got one of your guys back, his intensity, his presence, all that."

Bumgarner, who was unavailable for comment Thursday, made three rehab starts, striking out eight over six two-hit innings in his final tuneup.

"[I'm] ready to help contribute, like I should have been doing this whole time," Bumgarner said after the outing.

Before being placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career, Bumgarner, the 2014 World Series MVP, went winless in four starts, even though each was a quality outing. He posted a 3.00 ERA, striking out 28 in 27 innings.

To make room for Bumgarner, veteran right-hander Matt Cain will move to the bullpen. Cain, the longest tenured Giant, has a 5.56 ERA in 18 games, 17 of which were starts.

Cain expressed no frustration with the move, saying it will provide him an opportunity to learn from the Giants' other relievers. More than anything, he showed excitement for Bumgarner's return.

"I've got to go about this like it's a new challenge," Cain said. "… There's no issue with going down there. It'll be a good thing.

"It's great to have Bum back. We've been excited to have him back since we lost him. It was definitely odd to not have him in the rotation, so we're excited to have him back and have him around the clubhouse more."

Johnny Cueto will precede Bumgarner and start Friday's second-half opener. Jeff Samardzija will pitch Sunday's series finale, while left-handers Matt Moore and Ty Blach will complete the rotation. The Giants sit 27 games back in the National League West entering the second half, but Bochy said he hopes Bumgarner's comeback can energize his team.

"Trust me, I'm hoping things like this are a shot in the arm for this club," Bochy said. "Just had a really horrible half. You get one of your guys, that hopefully does a lot for the psyche of the club."

Worth noting

Eduardo Nunez, on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, was supposed to play to third base for Class-A Advanced San Jose, but a batted ball hit him in the calf during batting practice. He instead served as the designated hitter. Bochy said he expects Nunez back as soon as Friday.

Gorkys Hernandez and Kelby Tomlinson will split time as the Giants' left fielder heading into the second half.

• Closer Mark Melancon (right pronator strain) threw to a catcher after Thursday's workout.

Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego.

San Francisco Giants, Madison Bumgarner