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Madison Bumgarner is in the best shape of his life

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Add Giants starter Madison Bumgarner to the list of players entering the 2018 season in the best shape of their lives. On Friday, Bumgarner told reporters, including MLB.com’s Chris Haft, that he exercised with greater intensity and frequency this offseason. As a result, Bumgarner said, “I feel as good as I’ve ever felt, as strong as I’ve ever felt. I’m really excited to get started.”

Battery mate Buster Posey said, “He looks as trim and fit as I can remember. Knowing him as long as I have, it doesn’t surprise me. I watch him all year. He’s constantly trying to perfect his craft.”

Bumgarner, 28, missed time between mid-April and mid-July due to injuries sustained in a dirt bike accident. Overall, he made 17 starts, finishing with a 3.32 ERA and a 101/20 K/BB ratio in 111 innings. By most standards, that’s still a solid year, but it marked the highest ERA Bumgarner posted since 2012.

Bumgarner said he wasn’t sure what exactly his motivation was for the serious offseason workout routine, which Haft said included running, weightlifting, Pilates, and yoga. Bumgarner said, “I don’t know what the reason was. There was a little extra motivation. I don’t know if it was because of the year, because of the injury, because of the team that we have this year. Probably a combination of sorts. I asked myself that question this winter, actually, but I never did find an answer.”

The Giants finished 64-98 last season. To their credit, unlike a lot of teams, the Giants made moves to improve over the offseason, acquiring Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen and signing Austin Jackson. FanGraphs is projecting the Giants to go 84-78 in 2018, a 20-game improvement.

Phillies pause Jerad Eickhoff’s rehab

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Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff hasn’t pitched in the majors yet this season as he suffered a lat injury in mid-March and has been on the disabled list since. He started a rehab stint in the minors last week, making a start for Double-A Reading on May 15 and another start for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Sunday.

Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic reports that Eickhoff went a twinge in the fingertips of his right index and middle fingers late in Sunday’s outing after throwing a curve and on the subsequent pitch. The Phillies have paused Eickhoff’s rehab as a result and will evaluate him further.

Eickhoff went on the disabled list in late August last year due to nerve irritation in his right hand, so this latest setback could be related to that.

Eickhoff showed promise early in his career, posting a combined 3.44 ERA in 41 starts between 2015-16. He struggled to a 4.71 ERA last year before ending his season early with the nerve issue. Eickhoff was one of the many prospects the Phillies got from the Rangers in the Cole Hamels trade.