San Francisco starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner suffered a broken pinkie on his pitching hand, and is now expected to miss at least the first two months of the season — throwing a curve in the Giants rotation when the new season gets underway.
Bumgarner was injured on Friday after being hit by a line drive in a spring training game against the Kansas City Royals. He then had surgery on Saturday to have three pins inserted into his broken finger.
According to Giants manager Bruce Bochy, the pins will be in Bumgarner�s pinkie for about a month. After that, it is expected that the pitcher will need at least a couple weeks before he can begin throwing, and he will likely need rehab starts in the minor leagues before he is ready to rejoin the team.
�We�re looking at a couple months, give or take,� Bochy said to spring training reporters. �It�s going to take a while. I guess the good news we got this morning is they really felt good about the surgery.�
All-Star Injury Hurts Rotation
The injury is the second to one of the Giants� starting pitchers. Jeff Samardzija is expected to miss at least the first two weeks of the season with a strained pectoral muscle.
However, the loss of Bumgarner is more significant, not only in terms of time but also given his importance to the team. The 27-year-old four-time All-Star was expected to be the team�s ace this season. According to Bochy, Bumgarner had been pitching well in spring training, where he had compiled a 3.43 ERA in 21 innings pitched so far.
�He was really locked in with his delivery,� Bochy said. �That�s the thing that makes me sick about this. We�re losing our No. 1 guy, but also where he was as we were starting the season.�
The Giants were hoping that they would be able to enjoy a turnaround season after a tumultuous 2017. The team finished with a league-worst 64-98 record, in large part due to the loss of Bumgarner due to a dirt biking accident that cost the star pitcher three months of his season. He finished the season with a 4-9 record and a 3.32 ERA in just 17 starts.
Ty Blach to Start Opening Day
In the absence of their ace, San Francisco will instead turn to Ty Blach to make their Opening Day start against Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers. For a left-hander who was only hoping to make the major league roster after finishing with an 8-12 record last year, taking the mound for the first game of the season is an unlikely assignment.
�Obviously, with the circumstances, it�s tough losing Bum,� Blach said. �But it�s an honor to get that nod and go out there and give everything we�ve got.�
The Giants brought in several veterans to bolster their chances this year, including Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. But the injury to Bumgarner is making oddsmakers question whether San Francisco will be able to stay in the playoff race. William Hill has the Giants as a 5/1 pick to win the National League West, a joint second choice with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers are the overwhelming favorite to win the division at 4/7.
Bumgarner has a career record of 104-76 with a 3.01 ERA. He is also known for his rare ability to hit for power as a pitcher: in the last four years, he has hit 15 home runs in just 263 at bats.