When he was warming up in the visitor's bullpen before his start on Monday night at Dodger Stadium, D-backs left-hander Madison Bumgarner felt a muscle spasm in his inner left thigh.
The veteran chalked it up to one of those things that sometimes happens and reminded himself that it is rare that a pitcher takes the mound feeling completely healthy. Perhaps it would loosen up as the game went on.
That was not the case, however, and while it appears for now not to be a serious injury, the adductor spasm was enough to force an early exit in what turned out to be a 3-1 Arizona loss.
"It didn’t get any worse," Bumgarner said. "It wasn’t like it was grabbing at certain times. It was there the whole time. There wasn’t any one thing that was worse than the other. It’s just kind of constant throughout the whole game and in warmups and all that stuff. I don’t know, it definitely didn’t get any worse."
That Bumgarner was pitching with the issue could explain why his command, which had been so good on his recent run of success, was a bit off. Though he held the Dodgers to two runs on two hits, it took him 80 pitches to get through four innings and he walked four. To put that in perspective, he had issued just two walks in his previous five starts.
"I don’t know if I would call it pain," Bumgarner said. "Maybe discomfort. It was something that’s there that you know is definitely not usually there and you’re not dealing with. I think it affected my command a little bit, really, but it’s hard to say and you never know. It just seems that way. It definitely had my attention -- some of my attention -- we’ll say that."
Bumgarner said he told the training staff about it sometime in the second or third inning. Manager Torey Lovullo said he found out about it when Bumgarner came off the field after the fourth.
Lovullo asked Bumgarner if he was OK to take his at-bat in the top of the fifth, but with Bumgarner's spot set to lead off the inning, the two did not have a lot of time to talk it through.
Bumgarner ended up taking the at-bat, but as it was going on, Lovullo began to have doubts.
"Maybe kicking myself for allowing him to take that at-bat because I want to get him off his feet and get him evaluated," Lovullo said.
Bumgarner struck out looking and when he got back to the dugout, Lovullo talked to him some more and eventually decided to go to the bullpen.
While he fought to stay in the game, Bumgarner understood the wisdom of the decision to take him out.
"Given the time of year and the situation we’re in with all the other injuries, it definitely makes sense and I see the precaution for sure," Bumgarner said.
The D-backs are optimistic that Bumgarner is not going to join their long list of key contributors who are currently on the injured list, such as starting pitchers Zac Gallen and Taylor Widener, along with a slew of position players, including Ketel Marte, Christian Walker, Kole Calhoun and Asdrúbal Cabrera.
Lovullo said the team was so confident that it was a minor issue that there were no plans as of Monday night to have Bumgarner undergo an MRI exam.
"We’ll monitor him," Lovullo said. "I don’t think tests will be needed."
The rash of injuries have forced the D-backs to burn through almost every available position player on the 40-man roster, and the starting rotation was hit so hard that the D-backs listed their starters for the four-game series with the Dodgers as Bumgarner, TBD, TBD, TBD.
Corbin Martin, who is ranked as the organization's No. 7 prospect by MLB Pipeline, did not make his expected start for Triple-A Reno on Monday and could potentially fill in one of those TBD spots.