SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner sustained a fractured pitching hand Friday when he was hit by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City’s Whit Merrifield, who was leading off the third inning.
The injury will sideline Bumgarner for six to eight weeks, according to multiple reports. The left-hander will have surgery Saturday to insert pins in his fractured pinky knuckle, and it will be four to six weeks before the pins are removed.
Bumgarner was quickly removed from Friday’s game after being struck. He allowed two runs on three hits and punched out three in the outing, which was expected to be his final tune-up of the spring. Right-hander Ryan Halstead came in to replace him.
“Horrible news for us,” manager Bruce Bochy told reporters. “That’s all you can say about it. There’s nothing you can do but push on.”
Bumgarner said, “It’s tough, but I can handle it and these guys can handle it. I think I’ll be fine, but it’s obviously not what I was expecting out of my last start, but it’s what happens and now I’ve got to deal with it. … Hopefully it heals the way it’s supposed to and gets back quick.”
The 2014 World Series MVP has been enjoying a strong spring after sustaining the first major injury of his career last season when he injured his shoulder in a dirt bike accident. The incident sent Bumgarner to the disabled list for the first time in his nine-year major league career and kept him off the field for nearly three months.
Bumgarner had a 3.32 ERA in 17 starts last year. Entering Friday, the 28-year-old had a 2.84 ERA in five Cactus League starts.
Considered one the game’s best pitchers, Bumgarner has a 3.01 career ERA in 234 games (231 starts). He was slated to start Opening Day for the Giants, who are expected to place fellow starter Jeff Samardzija on the disabled list to start the season because of a strained pectoral muscle.
Bumgarner will make $12 million this season in the first of two option years remaining on his contract before he can become a free agent. The Giants hold a $12 million option for 2019 that can be bought out for $1.5 million.
Without Bumgarner for a majority of last season, the Giants went 64-98 and finished last place in the National League West.