Madison Bumgarner will return to Phoenix for back exam after early exit

Cassandra Negley
·Writer
·4 min read

Madison Bumgarner will return to Phoenix to be looked at by team doctors while the Arizona Diamondbacks continue on the road to a series against the Colorado Rockies.

Bumgarner had a rough outing on Sunday, giving up four home runs in the first two innings during a 9-5 loss to the San Diego Padres. He was pulled before the third inning and will be evaluated after experiencing discomfort in his back the night prior.

Bumgarner to be evaluated by team doctors

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said after the loss that Bumgarner was removed from the game due to back spasms and will return to Phoenix to be looked at by team doctors.

He will drive rather than fly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Zach Buchanan of The Athletic reported.

Lovullo said the concern level is “minimal,” per Steve Gilbert at MLB.com. Bumgarner, 31, has had a rough start after signing a five-year, $85 million deal with Arizona in the offseason.

Bumgarner gives up 4 HRs in 2 innings

Madison Bumgarner in a red jersey holding a ball on the mound while Manny Machado jogs to second behind him.
Arizona Diamondbacks Madison Bumgarner gave up four home runs in two innings, including two to Manny Machado. (AP Photo/Derrick Tuskan)

His back issue appeared the night before the game when he felt discomfort in his mid-back, he said, but after treatment from the medical staff he thought he would be good to pitch. He said he initially thought he had slept on it wrong.

Bumgarner told reporters, via MLB.com:

“Good enough where I thought I would try to go out there and give us what I could and, hopefully, try to save the bullpen a little bit and try to keep us in the game,” Bumgarner said. “[And] I wound up doing neither one. It would grab me at what seemed like random times to me. One delivery it seemed like it might kind of grab me is how I would describe it. Then the next one it wouldn’t do it at all, but you’re waiting for it. It was tough. It was aggravating.”

The Padres’ Manny Machado hit two of the four home runs. He gave up five hits and six runs, driving his ERA up to 9.35 for the season. Both Bumgarner and Lovullo said in hindsight the pitcher should not have gone back out for the second inning.

What’s wrong with Bumgarner?

Back issue aside, the veteran right-hander hasn’t had a smooth start to the season.

Most of the concern stems from his velocity. It has dropped from 92 mph with the San Francisco Giants late last year and during spring training to 87.7 mph at most on Sunday. He’s allowed seven home runs in 17 1/3 innings of work.

Bumgarner has had drops in velocity in the past. He slowly worked his way back up from the high 80s after a 2018 dirt bike accident and a broken finger on his pitching hand in 2019.

He addressed the tough first few weeks to reporters.

“Coming to a new place, wanting to do good, and then this type of season on top of that,” Bumgarner said, via MLB.com. “It’s just, none of it has really went the way I wanted it to go. You’ve got to just roll with it and try to do the best you can. That’s what I’m doing — trying to get to where I want to be and need to be to give these guys a chance to win when I go out there.”

The Diamondbacks have a three-game series in Colorado starting Monday and return home to Chase Field for a series against the Padres that starts Friday.

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