Bumgarner feels no ill effects from taxing postseason
Ace says arm feels normal despite huge workload in 2014
SAN FRANCISCO -- Asked to describe the condition of his throwing arm Friday, Madison Bumgarner replied in typically simple fashion. "It feels like an arm," Bumgarner said.
That should comfort the Giants and their fans in the wake of his remarkable performance in October. Bumgarner's indication that his arm felt normal provided optimism on the eve of FanFest, as nearly 30 players conducted interviews at AT&T Park.
Bumgarner accumulated a postseason-record 52 2/3 innings, which hiked his overall total to a personal high of 270. That prompted questions about his stamina approaching this season.
"I think you have to be aware of the workload he carried last year, but I've said this many times this offseason: Right now, I don't have any concerns with Madison," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's a big, strong man, and I think he'll be fine. This is not something that hasn't been done before, and he's in incredible shape with his work ethic. With that said, we'll keep an eye on him and during the season we'll try to lighten the load when we can."
It just so happens that the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Bumgarner is among the most diligent Giants with his personal conditioning. Referring to his postseason workload, Bumgarner said, "That's why you do all the work, to prepare yourself for situations like that."
Much appears to be within Bumgarner's reach. After an 18-10 finish last year, 20 wins is within the realm of possibility. So is his third consecutive berth on the National League All-Star team.
But, the 25-year-old said, "I'm not a big goal-setter. The only goal that I have is to win a championship. That's it. That individual stuff means nothing to me. I don't care where you're ranked and this and that. It's not going to change the work I put into it. It's not going to change how much I care about this team and the organization and winning games."
Many observers believe that Bumgarner soon can supplant Los Angeles' Clayton Kershaw as the league's premier left-hander.
"I think he's already there," said Tim Hudson, the Giants' veteran right-hander. "Obviously, the standards Clayton Kershaw sets are pretty high. But Madison expects to go out and win and dominate people."
Bumgarner apparently doesn't expect to become one of the game's highest-paid pitchers. Under the terms of a five-year, $35 million deal that was a steal for the Giants, Bumgarner will earn $6.75 million this year, followed by $9.75 million in 2016 and $11.5 million in 2017. The Giants hold $12 million options on his services for 2018 and 2019.
Yet the mere suggestion of renegotiating his contract almost seemed to horrify Bumgarner, who signed it when he had less than two years of Major League service time.
"I'm just happy to be here and lucky to be locked up at such a young age," Bumgarner said.
The Giants probably consider themselves luckier.