Sacramento River Cats

‘Things are getting better’ for Madison Bumgarner. Why he can prove it in Sacramento

Madison Bumgarner pitches in his first rehab assignment with the Sacramento River Cats against the Fresno Grizzlies on June 30, 2017, in West Sacramento.
Madison Bumgarner pitches in his first rehab assignment with the Sacramento River Cats against the Fresno Grizzlies on June 30, 2017, in West Sacramento. Sacramento Bee file

Madison Bumgarner is getting close to making his season debut with the Giants. Before that happens, he'll throw for Sacramento.

The Giants' ace is scheduled to pitch for the River Cats on Saturday, when they host the Albuquerque Isotopes at Raley Field. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.

Bumgarner – a four-time All-Star and the 2014 World Series MVP who is on the 60-day disabled list – had pins put into his pitching hand after his left pinkie was broken by a comebacker during a spring training game against the Kansas City Royals on March 23. He's eligible to be activated Friday.

He's expected to throw 45 pitches Saturday.

Pitching for the River Cats on a rehab stint, Madison Bumgarner gets applause from the crowd at Raley Field.

He's thrown four sessions since being medically cleared May 1, including a 30-pitch simulation Tuesday at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

"Things are getting better every time I go out there," Bumgarner told MLB.com. "Everything feels normal. I don't notice anything with my hand."

Giants manager Bruce Bochy told The Mercury News that Bumgarner will likely need three rehab starts before joining the major-league roster. Because the River Cats will be on the road when Bumgarner is slated to pitch again, the ace's next start is expected to be with San Jose, the team's High-A club.

Bumgarner last threw for the River Cats on June 30, 2017, against the Fresno Grizzlies. He went 3 2/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits with one walk and one strikeout. Bumgarner didn't factor into the decision in the River Cats' 8-7 loss.

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