Madison Bumgarner returns for Giants

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It’s MadBum time.

Giants ace Madison Bumgarner will make his first start of the season for the San Francisco Giants tonight, taking on Patrick Corbin and the Diamondbacks.

Bumgarner, of course, began the season on the disabled list with a fractured finger on his left hand, suffered when he was hit by a comebacker in a late spring training game. It served to shorten his second straight season, after last year’s campaign was interrupted by a shoulder strain sustained in a dirt bike accident on an off-day in Colorado. That led to him making only 17 starts in 2017.

The Giants have, surprisingly, held their own in Bumgarner’s absence, sitting at .500, only a game and a half behind Arizona. I say surprisingly because Bumgarner has not been the only Giants pitcher to find himself in dry dock this season. Jeff Samardzija got a late start to the season due to a strained pectoral muscle and has continued to battle his own body as the year has gone on. Johnny Cueto isn’t expected back until July at the earliest due to a sprained right elbow. If it wasn’t for every team in the West going through an awful patch at one time or another, the season could already be lost.

But it’s not lost. Not yet. And getting their ace back gives the Giants as good a chance as anyone in the division to shake off the blahs and go on a run.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.