Bumgarner has the scouts buzzing

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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.

Dodgers designate Sergio Romo for assignment

Dodgers designate Sergio Romo for assignment

The Dodgers made a move on Thursday that will certainly interest Giants fans.

Los Angeles designated Sergio Romo for assignment.

Over 30 appearances this season, Romo is 1-1 with a 6.12 ERA.

[PAVLOVIC: Why are the Giants reportedly gambling on a Pablo Sandoval reunion?]

He hasn't taken the mound since July 8.

Against the Giants this year:

- April 24: Allowed one hit and one walk in one inning
- April 25: Allowed two earned runs in 0.1 innings 
- May 2: A perfect 1-2-3 inning
- May 17: Allowed one run in one inning

Romo spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Orange and Black.

From 2008 to 2016, he went 32-26 with a 2.58 ERA and 84 saves over 515 appearances.

He won three World Series rings with the Giants.

Down on the Farm: Voice of the River Cats evaluates Giants prospects

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Twitter/Sacramento River Cats

Down on the Farm: Voice of the River Cats evaluates Giants prospects

Johnny Doskow knows the Giants' prospects who are knocking on the door for a chance in the big leagues as well as anybody. In his 17th year as the voice of the Sacramento River Cats, Doskow takes in every moment of the Giants' Triple-A affiliate. 

On Wednesday morning, Doskow joined the KNBR Minor League Podcast to talk about some of the Giants' most intriguing prospects. Here is his up-close view on four names to know. 

Tyler Beede, RHP (19 GS, 6-7, 4.79 ERA, 109 IP, 83 K, 1.47 WHIP)

*Beede started the night of Doskow's interview and pitched seven scoreless innings. 

"I do think that Beede is going to be really good and I think Beede's gonna have a nice big league career. He's just not ready yet. He just needs more time here in Triple-A.

"He's struggled sometimes not being as aggressive in the zone as I think the Giants would have liked and nibbling a little bit. You know, he has great stuff. It's funny, then he'll have an outing like he did against El Paso several weeks ago where he was absolutely dominant and looked like a '3.' He looked like a 3 or 4 major league starter. He's gonna have the great games and he's gonna struggle some. I just think it's one of those things where more experience against quality hitters is going to help him. We talk about this league and how challenging it is and most of the time you can't just come in and dominate this league like a Lincecum did. Lincecum came in and he just absolutely dominated the (Pacific) Coast League. As did Matt Cain. You just don't see that very often.

"I think with Beede, he's just gotta right the ship, be more aggressive in the zone and you know, it's just a matter of time. He might be a September call-up, but I don't think it would hurt him to get even more time at Triple-A next year before he does get called up. Maybe he will compete for a spot, but I just think he needs more time down here. He's only 24. He's got great stuff, there's no doubt." 

Andrew Suarez, LHP (6 G, 5 GS, 3-3, 4.98 ERA, 34.1 IP, 32 K, 1.63 WHIP)

"His command, his confidence. He came in his first start and was throwing his breaking ball for a strike consistently. He came in and he was not intimidated at all by the (Pacific) Coast League. And he threw strikes right away and got hitters out." 

Chris Shaw, LF (47 G, .302/.338/.533, 9 HR, 13 2B, 26 RBI, 22 R)

"He's good, man. He's fun to watch too. ...He has a really mature approach and he's learning the outfield. He's still learning how to play the outfield. It's a work in progress out there and not always smooth. But he's a guy who can hit and you've got to find a position for him. Giants fans are gonna be impressed with this guy once he does arrive.

"Who knows, maybe he's a September call-up, but he's a guy I think needs a little more time in Triple-A. He's a good one, he really is. He's a guy who uses the whole field, great power, and again, work in progress in the outfield, but he can get there. You can tell too he's learning positioning out there in left field, how to play it, so it's a matter of time for him out there in the outfield. Definitely the bat's there, no question." 

Orlando Calixte, UTIL (74 G, .266/.295/.479, 13 HR, 13 2B, 41 RBI, 37 R)

"I don't know if the Giants have plans for Calixte. I know he is a treat to watch on a daily basis. Just watching his enthusiasm is infectious. He has that great energy he brings every single day. He plays multiple positions, he has a fine arm. I think he's susceptible from time to time on the breaking ball. 

"A team's gonna find him. Whether it's the Giants or somebody else, he's gonna stick. He can play. If he can learn how to hit that breaking ball -- he has good bat speed, he can play the game and he can play multiple positions. I think he's a guy who can be a super-utility type. He won't be quite a Nunez, but he's a really talented player, man. Again, he brings this kind of boyish enthusiasm every day. Everybody in the clubhouse loves him; always positive, always smiling, enjoys playing the game genuinely. You watch him and he's just really enjoying it. I haven't seen him in a bad mood yet. If he goes 0-for-5, the next day he's the same exact guy. He kind of has the major league demeanor -- never too high, never too low. He's always happy. He doesn't seem to get down too much, so I think he's got that good mentality."

*All stats are strictly for the River Cats (Shaw and Suarez were mid-season call-ups, and Calixte spent time with the Giants). All stats are through July 19.