SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The second act of Madison Bumgarner's career hasn't been nearly as successful as the first.
In his third season with the Diamondbacks, the four-time All-Star hopes things will turn around.
The 32-year-old Bumgarner made his spring debut on Tuesday, giving up three runs over 2 1/3 innings against the Texas Rangers. He gave up a couple of homers but his velocity was a little higher than it has been in recent seasons, hitting 92 or 93 mph on his fastball.
“I was happy with how I felt,” Bumgarner said. “Arm felt good, body felt good.”
The big left-hander will almost certainly need a productive season if the D-backs are to have any hope of competing in the NL West after losing 110 games last season.
Bumgarner signed an $85 million, five-year deal in 2020, a few 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 bounced back somewhat in 2021 as one of the team's more reliable pitchers, going 7-10 with a 4.67 ERA in 26 starts.
The Diamondbacks have been mostly quiet during the offseason — content to upgrade their bullpen with Mark Melancon and Ian Kennedy — while division rivals made splashy additions like Freddie Freeman (Dodgers) and Kris Bryant (Rockies).
If improvement is going to happen, it'll probably need to come from players already on the roster. Bumgarner said he has enough experience to know there's plenty of talent on all 30 major league teams.
“Early in my career, I would have some of my worst games against last-place teams," Bumgarner said. “You let off that much 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 posting a 0.43 ERA over 21 innings.
MARLINS, SOLER FINALIZE DEAL
The Miami Marlins formally announced the signing of slugger Jorge Soler to a three-year, $36 million contract before a Grapefruit League game against St. Louis.
“We’ve talked about the length of our lineup getting better,” manager Don Mattingly said. “He gives us another guy in that lineup that’s 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 top choice,” Soler said through an interpreter. “My family was happy I’ll be playing with the Marlins. It’s just feeling like playing at home.”
Miami can slot a reigning World Series MVP into the middle of a lineup starved for power. Only two teams hit fewer than Miami’s 158 homers 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 in the 2018 trade of Christian Yelich.
ACUNA WON'T PLAY IN SPRING GAMES
Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. won’t see game action in spring training, even as a designated hitter, as it becomes increasingly likely he will miss at least the first month of the regular season.
Acuña, recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee sustained midway through last season, expressed hope at the start of spring training that he would be ready for the defending World Series champion Braves’ opener on April 7. There had been speculation the universal DH would provide a path for Acuña’s return to the lineup earlier than if he had to play in the outfield.
Instead, the Braves continue to take a cautious approach to the rehabilitation process for Acuña, the team’s unquestioned biggest star after Freddie Freeman’s free-agent signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
REDS DEALING WITH INJURIES
Cincinnati Reds shortstop José Barrero needs hand surgery and will be sidelined for about six weeks, manager David Bell said.
Seen as the Reds’ shortstop of the future, the 23-year-old Barrero was scheduled to have hook hamate surgery Tuesday in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Kyle Farmer is the presumptive everyday shortstop for the Reds but Barrero was expected to see more playing time this season.
Bell also said right-hander Luis Castillo may miss his first scheduled start of the regular season with shoulder soreness. He was expected to start long-tossing on Tuesday.
The Red Sox will honor former player, coach and broadcaster Jerry Remy with a season-long commemorative patch. The team will also have a pregame ceremony on April 20 at Fenway Park. Remy died on Oct. 30 at 68 years old after a long bout with lung cancer. ... Dodgers pitcher Caleb Ferguson threw a scoreless inning of relief on Tuesday. He last pitched in a game on Sept. 15, 2020, and is trying to return from Tommy John surgery.
AP Sports Writers Dave Skretta and Charles Odum and freelancer Chuck King contributed to this report.
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