Date set for Madison Bumgarner's 2018 season debut


DENVER -- The Giants are a week away from getting their best player back.

Manager Bruce Bochy said Madison Bumgarner will throw 70-75 pitches for the San Jose Giants on Thursday and then rejoin the big league squad. That would line him up to start Tuesday at home against the Diamondbacks and then potentially face the Nationals and Dodgers on the next trip, which is lining up as a tough one. 

Management and Bumgarner had considered bringing him back Friday after just one short rehab start, but in the end the decision was made to be cautious. 

"It's just giving him another start to where he can be more stretched out and we don't have to be careful with him," Bochy said. "If you go back, we were talking about three (rehab starts originally), so he's still ahead of schedule."

Bumgarner fractured his left pinky during the final start of a spectacular spring. He picked up where he left off, throwing 3 2/3 hitless innings on Saturday for Triple-A Sacramento. Bumgarner struck out eight in that start and had all his pitches working. Bochy said he was equally sharp while throwing to Giants hitters in a simulated game last tuesday. 

"I saw it when he threw (in Houston)," he said. "He was really where he needed to be as far as his delivery and command of all his pitches. That's why he's coming up probably earlier than anticipated."

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