SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The second act of Madison Bumgarner’s career was not as successful as the first.
In his third season with the Diamondbacks, the four-time All-Star hopes things will change.
Bumgarner, 32, made his spring debut on Tuesday, allowing three runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Texas Rangers. He gave up a few home runs, but his speed was a bit higher than in past seasons, hitting 92 or 93 mph on his fastball.
“I was happy with how I felt,” Bumgarner said. “The arm felt good, the body felt good.”
The big southpaw will almost certainly need a productive season if the D-backs are to hope to compete in the NL West after losing 110 games last season.
Bumgarner signed a five-year, $85 million contract in 2020, months before the COVID-19 pandemic upended the baseball world. He had the worst year of his career in that abbreviated season, finishing 1-4 with a 6.48 ERA.
He’s rebounded somewhat in 2021 as one of the team’s most reliable pitchers, going 7-10 with a 4.67 ERA in 26 starts.
The Diamondbacks have been mostly quiet this offseason – content to improve their bullpen with Mark Melancon and Ian Kennedy – while division rivals have made flashy additions like Freddie Freeman (Dodgers) and Kris Bryant (Rockies). ).
If any improvement is to happen, it will likely have to come from players already on the roster. Bumgarner said he had enough experience to know there was a lot of talent in the 30 major league teams.
“Early in my career I would have had some of my worst games against last-place teams,” Bumgarner said. “You let go a lot and you learn pretty quickly that there’s not that big of a difference.”
Bumgarner was one of the most decorated postseason pitchers of the 2010s, helping the San Francisco Giants win the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014. He was the World Series MVP in 2014 after posted a 0.43 ERA in 21 innings.
MARLINS AND SOLER FINALIZE THE DEAL
The Miami Marlins officially announced the signing of slugger Jorge Soler to a three-year, $36 million deal ahead of a Grapefruit League game against St. Louis.
“We’ve talked about the length of our roster improving,” manager Don Mattingly said. “He gives us another guy in this formation who is dangerous.”
Soler’s father, mother, wife and children live in Miami, and the Cuban defector will now play in a city renowned for its Cuban culture.
“Signing with the Marlins was my first choice,” Soler said through an interpreter. “My family was happy that I played with the Marlins. I just feel like playing at home.
Miami can place a reigning World Series MVP in the middle of a power-hungry roster. Only two teams hit fewer than Miami’s 158 home runs last season.
To make room for Soler on the 40-man roster, Miami designated second baseman Isan Diaz for assignment. Diaz was the last remaining player the Marlins organization received when they traded Christian Yelich in 2018.
ACUNA WILL NOT PLAY SPRING GAMES
Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. will not participate in spring training, even as a designated hitter, as it becomes increasingly likely that he will miss at least the first month of the regular season.
Acuña, recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee suffered midway through last season, expressed hope at the start of spring training that he would be ready for the defending champion’s opener. World Series Braves on April 7. There had been speculation the Universal DH would provide a path for Acuña to return to the lineup sooner than if he were to play in the outfield.
Instead, the Braves continue to take a cautious approach to the rehabilitation process for Acuña, the team’s undisputed biggest star after signing free agent Freddie Freeman with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
THE RED DEALING WITH INJURIES
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Jose Barrero needs hand surgery and will be out for about six weeks, manager David Bell said.
Considered the Reds’ shortstop of the future, Barrero, 23, was scheduled to undergo hook-and-eye surgery Tuesday in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Kyle Farmer is the Reds’ presumptive daily shortstop, but Barrero was expected to see more playing time this season.
Bell also said right-hander Luis Castillo could miss his first scheduled regular-season start with shoulder pain. He was expected to start throwing longs on Tuesday.
The Red Sox will honor former player, coach and broadcaster Jerry Remy with a commemorative patch throughout the season. The team will also have a pregame ceremony on April 20 at Fenway Park. Remy died on October 30 at age 68 after a long battle with lung cancer. … Dodgers pitcher Caleb Ferguson pitched a scoreless relief inning Tuesday. He last pitched in a game on September 15, 2020 and is trying to come back from Tommy John surgery.
AP sportswriters Dave Skretta and Charles Odum and freelancer Chuck King contributed to this report.
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