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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.

Video: Jorge Soler launches first home run of spring training

Jorge Soler
Associated Press
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The Royals and Rangers played the first game of spring training today. A few other teams (the Red Sox, Tigers and Twins) played or are currently playing college squads, but Kansas City-Texas is our first matchup of big league teams. Baseball’s back, baby! And you know what baseball means?

Kansas City’s Jorge Soler, who hit 48 homers last year to lead the American League, offered us the year’s first glimpse at recreational baseball murder when he took Kolby Allard out over the left field yard.

Mmm. That’s the good stuff. Here’s to eight and a half months more of that. Bring me the dingers.

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