San Francisco Giants

Bumgarner, Lincecum make spring debuts in Giants’ Cactus League opener

Young San Francisco Giants fans wait behind the dugout of the Giants before the start of a spring training baseball game against Oakland Athletics Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Mesa, Ariz.
Young San Francisco Giants fans wait behind the dugout of the Giants before the start of a spring training baseball game against Oakland Athletics Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Mesa, Ariz. AP

Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner had a rough outing in the Cactus League opener against the A’s on Tuesday, allowing four runs in 1 2/3 innings, but said afterward he wasn’t worried about the results.

"Right now it’s just about getting your arm in shape and being able to make pitches," said Bumgarner, who threw about 30 pitches. "I would like to go out there and be perfect. But the stuff is good."

Bumgarner faced 10 batters and allowed five hits. The A’s hit for a team cycle in the first inning, including a two-run home run by shortstop Marcus Semien, en route to a 9-4 win. Bumgarner finished the first inning trailing 3-0, but came back for the second and retired the first two hitters before Craig Gentry’s single ended his afternoon.

The left-hander threw all his pitches -- including one of the slow curves he began mixing in last season -- and said his command was "pretty good for the first day." He has already allowed one more run than he did in all of spring training last year but he pointed out that he followed last spring with a 2-3 record and 3.74 ERA in April, indicating that Cactus League numbers aren’t a preview of the regular season.

Right now, he said, "It’s just about getting your body back in the rhythm of pitching, facing hitters and competing, making pitches."

Lincecum pleased -- Tim Lincecum was happy with his one inning, in which he allowed one run when Ben Zobrist hit a leadoff double and scored on a pair of wild pitches. But Lincecum struck out the final two batters of the inning, Brett Lawrie and Nate Freiman, and sounded happiest with the life on his fastball and his getting ahead of all four hitters he faced.

"As I get more into situations I’ll be able to go to my secondary stuff and try to put them away a little bit quicker," Lincecum said. "I let a couple guys get away from me. But like I said, my fastball felt like it was there."

Lincecum’s fastball registered between 89 and 92 miles per hour, and he mixed in a curve and changeups. He has stayed away from his slider most of spring, saying he wants to get a feel of his other pitches first.

"He should’ve been (pleased)," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I thought he had good command with the fastball. He and Bum both had a good delivery. I was pleased with how they threw."

New rules – All pitchers involved got their first experience with MLB’s new pace-of-play rules, the most visible of which is a clock in center field for timing changeovers between innings. Pitchers must complete their warm-up tosses with at least 30 seconds remaining -- something Bumgarner and Lincecum both said wasn’t a problem.

Lincecum, in fact, warms up so quickly that he said he finished with nearly a minute left of his allotted time.

"I was like, do I have to use the 54 seconds?" he said.

Perhaps the biggest adjustment for batters is having to keep one foot in the box between pitches. Catcher Andrew Susac said it wasn’t a major issue Tuesday.

"I think the umpires also know it’s still a new thing and guys are accidentally going to step out," Susac said. "Even I did it once, and he was like, ‘Hey, just reminding you.’"

Et cetera – New outfielder Nori Aoki lived up to his reputation as a tough out, seeing eight pitches in his first at-bat in a Giants uniform and finishing 1-for-3. Aoki led off and started in center field as Angel Pagan did not make the trip to Mesa.

"We saw a little bit of what he can do today," Bochy said of Aoki. "Even when he makes an out, it’s probably a pretty good at-bat."

Pagan was one of several regulars who stayed in Scottsdale, along with Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford.

Call The Bee’s Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015. See his baseball coverage at sacbee.com/mlb. Follow him on Twitter at @matthewkawahara.

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