Bumgarner faces live hitters for first time in recovery from broken pinky

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HOUSTON -- Madison Bumgarner was back on a big league mound Tuesday. Pretty soon, the results will actually count.

Bumgarner threw 30 pitches to Gregor Blanco and Miguel Gomez in a simulated game and will now throw 45 in a rehab start for the Sacramento River Cats on Saturday. He was pleased with the way Tuesday went.

"It felt good," he said. "Everything was working good. The breaking ball was doing what it was supposed to with a lot more consistency. We're continuing to see forward strides."

Bumgarner has sailed through the rehab process but only just started to throw breaking balls. He snapped off several wicked curveballs to teammates. 

"The breaking ball has been not very good, not very consistent, in bullpens," he said. "I don't know if it was getting off a mound or having hitters in there, and knowing you have to make pitches (but it was better)."

Bumgarner is expected to make at least three rehab starts. He said he will stay close to home, so he could pitch for the San Jose Giants as well as the River Cats. It's likely his second rehab start will be in San Jose on May 31.

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