Madison Bumgarner admits dirt-bike injury was 'not the most responsible decision'
San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, in his first public comments since a dirt-bike accident left him hospitalized and on the disabled list with a shoulder sprain, admitted spending his day off on a dirt bike last Thursday was “definitely not the most responsible decision.”
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Bumgarner joined the team Monday at AT&T Park before it began its series with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. While Bumgarner’s injury didn’t require surgery, he did have a second MRI on Monday, yet the Giants still don’t have a firm timetable for his return. Initial reports had him out 6-8 weeks, but shoulder injuries are tricky, so that remains to be seen.
He arrived with his left arm in a sling and talked to a group of reporters before the game. Among the things we learned from his media scrum about the baseball season’s most interesting injury:
Bumgarner says he's feeling a little better each day. Apologized to teammates 1 on 1. Says he's crashed before as a kid but nothing serious. pic.twitter.com/ANWHrPH65P
— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattABC7) April 25, 2017
Here’s more from Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area:
The Giants believe his shoulder is relatively sound structurally, and the consensus is that Bumgarner is lucky this wasn’t worse. He said the bike, a rental during the team’s off day, was similar to ones he has been on in the past. He was hours into a ride with two family members when he went down on dirt.
“I was actually being pretty safe the whole time,” Bumgarner said. “It was just a freak deal. We were on the way out, almost back to the truck … I wish I had some kind of cool story that it was some kind of crazy wreck. It wasn’t anything spectacular.”
Bumgarner has spoken to most of his teammates individually and in small groups. He understands that this is a bad look, and it’s a blow the Giants can’t afford.
“It’s terrible. It’s obviously not my intention when I set out to enjoy the off day,” he said. “I realize it’s definitely not the most responsible decision I’ve made. It sucks not being out here with the guys.”
Bumgarner hit the DL last Friday, a shocker both because of the circumstances behind his injury and the fact that he’d never been on the disabled list in his MLB career. Up to that point, Bumgarner was 0-3 with a 3.00 ERA this season. It was a few hard-luck losses for Bumgarner, who has pitched well enough so far. The Giants, however, have been a mess. They’ve scored a total of seven runs in his four starts.
Fans were both surprised and disappointed that Bumgarner would do something as risky as dirt biking on his day off. Many have questioned whether his contract forbid such activities and, if so, whether the Giants would seek any recourse. The Giants haven’t talked about that yet.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea wrote that Giants GM Bobby Evans didn’t have anything to say in regards how Bumgarner’s injury affected his contract.
“Our focus is trying to take care of Madison and get him healthy and support him any way we can,” said Evans, adding that Bumgarner’s contract is “the least of our concerns.”
Bumgarner’s contract remains one of the most team-friendly in baseball, especially considering what he’s meant to the team and its postseason successes. In 2012, he signed the five-year, $35 million pacts, which came with two club option years.
The Giants have the choice whether to retain Bumgarner for 2018 and 2019 for $12 million each, a number that’s well below market value for an ace pitcher. If the Giants want to cut ties with Bumgarner over this dirt-bike accident, they could do so after this season and owe him just a $1.5 million buyout.
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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz
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