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Notes: MadBum 'really good'; Ketel homers

@SteveGilbertMLB
February 23, 2020

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Encouraged by his session throwing live batting practice Sunday, left-hander Madison Bumgarner appears to be on track to make his debut in a D-backs uniform Thursday afternoon against the Reds at Salt River Fields. It was the second session of live BP for Bumgarner, who signed a

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Encouraged by his session throwing live batting practice Sunday, left-hander Madison Bumgarner appears to be on track to make his debut in a D-backs uniform Thursday afternoon against the Reds at Salt River Fields.

It was the second session of live BP for Bumgarner, who signed a five-year, $85 million free-agent contract during the offseason.

Bumgarner faced Andy Young, Daulton Varsho and Ben DeLuzio, so he got a chance to see hitters from both sides of the plate.

“Really good,” Bumgarner said. “That was a lot bigger improvement than I was actually looking for from the first one to this one. It sure felt good. I felt really good about it.”

Right where he left off

After a season in which he finished fourth in the Most Valuable Player Award voting, Ketel Marte homered in his first at-bat of the spring against A’s right-hander Chris Basitt.

“It looks like Ketel Marte is ready to go,” D-backs lefty Robbie Ray said. “I think he could probably take 30 days off and show up on Opening Day and be ready. He’s just a special player. It’s really fun to watch him play.”

The D-backs went on to win, 7-3, over the split-squad A’s.

“He tried to throw me inside and I think he missed a little bit with the pitch,” Marte said. “Don’t miss a pitch in the big leagues, man.”

How did it feel to hit a homer in his first spring at-bat?

“I hit 32 last year so it doesn’t surprise me,” he said.

The biggest challenge for Marte this spring, he said, would be getting settled back in at second base. Last year he split time between second and the outfield, but with the acquisition of center fielder Starling Marte, Ketel Marte will likely see the vast majority of his time at second.

“Last year I played a lot of center field,” he said. “Back at second I’ve got to practice and try to get comfortable out there. I know what I’ve got and I know I’ll be ready out there.”

Walker being slowed

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said first baseman Christian Walker has been experiencing some “general body soreness” and might not get into a game until Tuesday at the earliest.

“He’s just been having some general soreness, some general body soreness,” Lovullo said. “I don’t think there’s one targeted spot. The way I like to do it -- and you guys have heard me say it before -- just easing guys in right now is the way I would like to approach these things early in camp because we have a lot of time. We have a long runway here of games. What I’ve told Christian is that if I get you off the field because there’s some aches and pains and you’re just not feeling 100 percent, I’m going to ease you into it at the right time. When and where that is, I’m not sure.”

Game notes

• Lovullo was especially pleased with the way the D-backs ran the bases Sunday, with Jake Lamb going first to third on two occasions, Nick Ahmed taking an extra base and Pavin Smith tagging up from first on a fly ball to the outfield.

• In addition to Marte, Jon Jay, Smith, Ahmed and Wyatt Mathisen each had two hits.

Up next

The D-backs play their first road game of the spring Monday at 1:05 p.m. MT as they travel to Scottsdale Stadium to take on the Giants. Zac Gallen will get the start for the D-backs. The right-hander is a favorite to win a spot in the rotation, but he still needs to pitch well this spring to lock one down. Other pitchers expected to see action include Taylor Widener, Keury Mella, Edwin Jackson, Joe Mantiply and Andrew Chafin.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.