Bumgarner feels 'pretty dang good' in debut

March 5th, 2021

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- did not want to get too far ahead himself, but the left-hander was pleased with how his first Cactus League outing went in the D-backs' 9-2 win over the Angels on Thursday afternoon.

"I’m pretty happy with where we’re at for the first one of the spring for me, for sure," Bumgarner said. "You guys know after last year how I take Spring Training and try to use it to get ready. Today, I felt pretty solid. I maybe didn’t feel quite as good as the line shows, but I felt pretty dang good."

Bumgarner fanned six of the seven batters he faced, with Angels outfielder Juan Lagares managing the lone hit -- a first-inning single -- against him.

More important than his line was the way Bumgarner threw. His fastball velocity was where it was last spring -- touching 91 mph at times -- and not where it was during the 2020 season when he was three-to-four ticks slower.

And it wasn't just his fastball -- both his curve and cutter also looked sharp.

Not to take anything away from Bumgarner, but the Angels had just one player, Jared Walsh, in their lineup who figures to be a regular during the regular season.

"The slider and curveball were both pretty good, the curveball especially was pretty good," Bumgarner said. "It’s hard to say, though, everybody’s coming back for the first time, those guys included. [I was] facing a lot of guys that do not have very much experience off of me in particular. I’m not going to get too high on it. I definitely felt good with how it went."

Bumgarner signed a five-year, $85 million free agent deal prior to last season and looked good during Spring Training before it was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When he returned for Summer Camp, however, he had trouble regaining the velocity he had displayed with his fastball.

That, along with a back issue, led to a long 60-game season for Bumgarner, who compiled a 6.48 ERA in nine starts -- though he did finish the year with two scoreless starts.

Offensive explosion
Bumgarner set the tone on the mound and Trayce Thompson paced the offense, which collected 15 hits, including four homers.

Thompson, who started in right field and is a candidate to replace the injured Kole Calhoun there, was 3-for-4 and hit his second homer of the spring, this one a mammoth shot to left.

"Very consistent at-bats," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said of Thompson. "We saw a lot of that last year at the alternate site. And, you know, he's come in here and continued to learn about his swing, and the swing fundamentals that are going to allow him to have successful, successful at-bats."

Josh Rojas, Eduardo Escobar and Daulton Varsho also homered for the D-backs.

"We had a good day all the way around," Lovullo said.

Roster move
The D-backs signed right-hander Anthony Swarzak to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training.

Swarzak last pitched in 2019 for the Mariners and Braves, where he combined to go 3-4 with a 4.56 ERA in 59 games.

Up next
Seth Frankoff will start for the D-backs on Friday night against the Reds. Right-hander Taylor Clarke, along with lefties Sam Moll and Miguel Aguilar, are also scheduled to pitch.