Bumgarner Calls Own Pitches, Reflects on Other Rule Changes as Diamondbacks Outlast Guardians

Madison Bumgarner throws a pitch in Cactus League play against the Cleveland Guardians
(Photo by Patrick Mulligan/Getty Images)

Madison Bumgarner Calls Own Pitches, Discusses Rule Changes
Diamondbacks 6, Guardians 4

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (Mar. 5) — A three-run second inning, capped by a two-run Alek Thomas triple, paced the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 6–4 Cactus League victory over the Cleveland Guardians Sunday afternoon. Thomas also contributed a sacrifice fly in the fourth and made a spectacular running catch in center in the third, hauling in an Andres Gimenez fly on the warning track to rob him of an extra-base hit.

Other top offensive performers for the Diamondbacks were left fielder Corbin Carroll, who went 1-for-1 with three walks, an RBI, and two runs scored; and Geraldo Perdomo, who went 1-for-2 with a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored.

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First Spring Outing for Madison Bumgarner

Veteran left-hander Madison Bumgarner made his first start of the 2023 spring campaign. He gave up a run in each of the first two innings before facing the minimum in the third. The first run came in the bottom of the first. A two-out walk by third baseman Jose Ramirez and a double to left by designated hitter Josh Bell led to the scoring. The other run came in the second. A one-out walk by first baseman David Fry preceded two straight hit batsmen: Micah Pries and Myles Straw. This loaded the bases for left fielder Steven Kwan. A sharp grounder to the right side drew a diving attempt from first baseman Seth Beer. He could only get a glove on it, but it deflected to Castillo, who alertly fired to second to force Straw as Fry crossed the plate.

Bumgarner’s final line was three innings, two hits, two earned runs, two walks, and two hit batters. He said he was “pretty happy” that he made it through three innings. “That was the main goal,” he said, adding that he felt good with the pace while using PitchCom. Both Bumgarner and catcher Gabriel Moreno wore a PitchCom controller as well as the receiver. The catchers attach it to their armbands. Bumgarner had his attached to his belt with Velcro tape, but added, “I might try the glove next time. Might be a little easier.

Both having a controller did not cause any “who’s driving here?” logistical issues. “We split it up,” Bumgarner said, adding that they went by feel. “If he saw me go for the deal, he waited. And if I didn’t, then he called it.” There were “a couple” where they called it at the same time, but it ended up going to whomever hit the buttons last.

Lots of Changes

This will be Bumgarner’s 14th season in the majors. During his tenure, he has seen vast rule changes. Instant replay challenges have been added. There has been a timer between innings for several years. Mound conferences have been severely reduced in number. The Bona Fide Slide rule and plate blocking rule have been added, with the latter being informally dubbed the “Buster Posey Rule” after Bumgarner’s former catcher. Intentional walks are announced and instant, not done with four straight pitchouts as they once were. Extra innings have the automatic runner at second. And then there are the big three for 2023 — 18” bases, no infield overshifts, and the pitch clock.

“That’s gotta be the most changes in a 10- or 12-year period out of any other 10- or 12-year period,” Bumgarner said. “But they don’t matter. Everybody’s playing by the same rules, whatever they are.” He added, “I (still) would rather go back to baseball 30 years ago, but we’re not doing that.” Bumgarner hasn’t been “for” most of the changes. But “out of all the rule changes,” he said, “I have probably liked this one (the pitch clock) the most.”

Looking Ahead

The Diamondbacks continue Cactus League play Monday on the road against the Kansas City Royals. Right-hander Drey Jameson will start against Royals righty Brady Singer. Scheduled pitchers for the Diamondbacks are lefties Tyler Gilbert, Joe Mantiply, and Jesse Biddle along with righties Mark Melancon, Cole Sulser, and Ryan Hendrix. First pitch at Surprise Stadium will be at 1:05 pm.

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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