Bumgarner has the scouts buzzing


Bumgarner has the scouts buzzing

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Here is the difference with MadisonBumgarner:

Last spring, he couldnt complete five innings in a CactusLeague start. On Sunday, he did it with apparent ease against the San DiegoPadres and used so few pitches, he had to mosey down to the bullpen to throw20 more.

Did we mention theres still two weeks to go before theGiants head north?

In a rotation with pitching luminaries Tim Lincecum and MattCain, its Bumgarner who has the scouts buzzing. Its been suggested by morethan one seasoned observer that Bumgarner could be the Giants best startingpitcher this season.

No wonder manager Bruce Bochy didnt blink at making the22-year-old left-hander his No.2 starter.

Its nice to hear, said Bumgarner, informed what thescouts are jotting down about him. Its still spring training, though. Itsprobably better than what they were saying last year at this time.

He didnt like the way he threw the ball last spring?

Well, I dont know, he said, in his slow drawl. If youlike ERAs in the 8s, I guess.

It wasnt quite that bad. But it wasnt good. Bumgarner hada few brilliant outings but struggled in others, finishing last spring with a4.76 ERA in six games (four starts).

He didnt necessarily build momentum to opening day, either.There was the March 20 start when he threw 40 pitches, made a throwing error tothird base and didnt escape the second inning. The next time out March 25, he gotpounded for eight runs in 4 13 innings.

He had a 6.17 ERA in five starts in April, and even thoughhe started to turn things around in May, it wasnt reflected in his record.

This spring, Bumgarner looks determined to avoid starting0-6, as he did a year ago. And the innings totals are going in the rightdirection.

Its gotta be pretty good if you can go longer each time,Bumgarner said. But Im not worried about any starts at all in springtraining.

Bumgarner doesnt have much to worry about. In four starts,he has a 2.45 ERA and a 15-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 14 23 innings.

Giants catching prospect Garcia relishing reps in Arizona Fall League


Giants catching prospect Garcia relishing reps in Arizona Fall League

After being selected in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants, catcher Aramis Garcia quickly opened eyes with his power. Garcia totaled 15 home runs between Rookie Ball and Short Season Single-A in only 28 games after the draft. 

The next year, Garcia equaled his 15 long balls and spent the majority of his first full pro season at High Single-A. He also improved overall as a hitter, raising his 2014 slash line of .225/.301/.343 to .264/.342/.431 in 2015. The next climb up the farm system ladder was set in place, until it was gone with an excruciating injury. 

Garcia's 2016 season was limited to 47 games played as he sustained a facial fracture in May while sliding into second base. In an attempt to break up a double play, Garcia took a knee to the face. The injury kept him out until the end of July.

When the chance to play in the Arizona Fall League for the Scottsdale Scorpions arose, Garcia jumped at the opportunity. 

"First thing I did was call my parents and let them know," Garcia told MLB.com on Monday. "I was just really excited for getting the opportunity to play against guys who are extremely talented and obviously make up for reps, which are extremely important."

Garcia never did exactly find his rhythm after the injury and finished the season batting .257/.323/.340 with two homers in 41 games. In the first half, the 23-year-old hit .298/.359/.369 compared to a lowly .200/.273/.300 in the second half. 

The catcher known more for his offense than defense, is off to a slow start at the plate while facing some of the top prospects in baseball. Throuh six games, he has gone 3-for-17 at the plate, good for a .176 average. But, Garcia acknowledged he's focusing heavily on his defense in the AFL. 

"I feel like when somebody tries to steal on me, I tend to take it a little bit personally," he said. "It's definitely something I take pride in, something I work on hard every day. There's a little routine I do with receiving and footwork, things like that every day."

Behind the dish, Garcia caught 38 percent of base runners looking to swipe a bag on him last season. Through his three years in the minors, Garcia has erased 34 percent of base stealers and owns a .993 fielding percentage. 

Cubs, Indians name starting pitchers for Game 1 of World Series


Cubs, Indians name starting pitchers for Game 1 of World Series

World Series ace Jon Lester is all set to start Game 1 for the Chicago Cubs.

Lester will be fully rested when he pitches Tuesday night at Cleveland. Corey Kluber will start for the Indians.

The 32-year-old lefty is 2-0 in three starts during this postseason, with wins over the Giants and Dodgers in the NL playoffs. He was 19-5 during the regular season.

Lester is 3-0 in three starts in the World Series with a sparkling 0.43 ERA. He helped the Boston Red Sox win championships in 2007 and 2013.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon says Lester is "really, really in the moment" right now.


Indians ace Corey Kluber will start Game 1 of the World Series against the Chicago Cubs.

Manager Terry Francona said Sunday that he will go with Kluber, an 18-ame winner during the regular season, in the opener on Tuesday night. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 0.98 ERA in his first postseason.

Francona has right-handers Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin penciled in for Games 2 and 3, respectively. The order could change depending on how Bauer's injured right pinkie heals over the next few days.

Bauer's start in the AL Championship Series lasted less than one inning after his pinkie began bleeding against Toronto. He injured his finger when he sliced it open while repairing a drone.

Also, injured starter Danny Salazar could be available against the Cubs. Salazar hasn't pitched since Sept. 9 because of forearm tightness but he's made major progress in the past week and could be on the World Series roster.