PHOENIX — The first week of Spring Training games for the Arizona Diamondbacks have been a bit of a circus since the story of Madison Bumgarner’s secret rodeo career came to light.
We’ll get to “Mason Saunders” in a second, but Thursday at Salt River Fields, Bumgarner started a game for the first time in a D-backs uniform.
“Everything honestly felt better than I was expecting it to, or could hope to, for the first time out,” Bumgarner said. “As long as we keep progressing off of that, that’s all we’re looking for.”
The D-backs new $85 million ace threw 24 pitches in two innings of work, striking out four Cincinatti Reds players before giving up a solo HR, the only hit he allowed.
“The feel of pitches you can’t expect to be dialed in like it will be in June, July, August right in there,” the former San Francisco Giant said. “It actually feels like pretty much right where it left off.”
Bumgarner wasn’t exactly in the mood to talk about his off-season rodeo alter ego.
“Like I said, I felt really good today. Everything felt good, I was happy with where it’s at.”
When pressed on how much of a distraction the story has become, Bumgarner played dumb.
“What story? You’re going to have to help me a little.”
You know, the one about Mason Saunders being a competitive team roper.
“I’m not sure I can make it any more clear, I felt really good out there today for the first time in Spring Training.”
Any more questions about rodeo, for Mason or Madison, well that’s just beating a dead horse.