Bumgarner ready to go if needed in Game 7

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Madison Bumgarner is the hot topic at the World Series.

Much of the talk after Kansas City defeated the Giants 10-0 in Game 6 on Tuesday night surrounded not if, but when and how much Bumgarner would pitch in Game 7 on Wednesday.

Two days removed from a 117-pitch shutout effort in Game 5, the Giants ace, who has pitched 47.2 innings this postseason, said he feels better than he has all season.

San Francisco sends veteran Tim Hudson to the mound against Jeremy Guthrie. But Bumgarner joked he feels so good he’s capable of reaching new heights with his pitch count.

“Maybe 200,” Bumgarner said. “I don’t know.”

[RELATED: Silver lining for Giants despite Game 6 blowout]

Manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti aren’t about to let that happen.

He’d love to be able to use Bumgarner, who has a 1.13 postseason ERA, without restriction. Bumgarner has dominated Kansas City for 16 innings in the World Series, allowing a run, seven hits and a walk with 13 strikeouts.

But he also recognizes the 25-year-old has already completed 265 innings in 2014, including 217.1 in the regular season.

Still, Bochy won’t shy away from Bumgarner, either.

“If we do use him, how far he could go, Dave Righetti and myself, we’ll watch him and make sure we take care of him,” Bochy said. “This is the last game of the year, so it’s easier to push a guy the last game versus doing it twice.

“I think he could give some work if needed.”

Bay Area native Dan Hayes is the White Sox Insider for CSNChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @CSNHayes.

Braves sign reliever Will Smith to three-year, $39 million contract

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The Braves announced on Thursday that the club has inked lefty reliever Will Smith to a three-year, $39 million contract with a club option for the 2023 season worth $13 million. Smith received a qualifying offer worth $17.8 million from the Giants, so he opted for a lower average annual value for a longer contract.

Smith, 30, was an All-Star last season with the Giants, finishing with 34 saves, a 2.76 ERA, and a 96/21 K/BB ratio across 65 1/3 innings. Across parts of seven seasons in the majors, he has a 3.53 ERA.

Smith, the top free agent left-handed reliever, will join a strong Braves bullpen which already includes Mark Melancon, Shane Greene, and Sean Newcomb.