Would-be Opening Day starter Scott Diamond is beginning the season on the disabled list with an elbow injury, so the Twins announced that Vance Worley will get the Game 1 assignment.
Worley, who was acquired from the Phillies along with prospect Trevor May in a trade for center fielder Ben Revere this offseason, has a 3.56 ERA in 46 career starts through age 24. And lucky him, he’ll match up with Justin Verlander and the Tigers in the opener.
Minnesota’s rotation will also include Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey, with Liam Hendriks and Cole DeVries expected to snag the final two spots. Last year Twins starters had the worst ERA in the league and it may not be a whole lot prettier this season.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”