SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Madison Bumgarner would feel honored and humbled to be named the Opening Day starter no matter what uniform he wore.
To be selected over Giants pitchers Matt Cain, Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum – who have 11 Opening Day starts between them – makes it all the more pleasantly stunning.
“With the starting staff we have here, to be named the Opening Day starter is pretty unbelievable,” said Bumgarner, who will take the ball March 31 at Arizona. “I feel blessed to have that opportunity.”
Hudson, for Atlanta, and Cain, for the Giants, started openers last season. Cain said he was ecstatic to turn over the honor to Bumgarner, who ranked fifth in the NL with a 2.77 ERA last season and third with a .203 opponent’s average.
Did Bumgarner really react with “shock and a little bit of awe” when told, as Cain described it?
“Pretty much,” Bumgarner said with a smile. “Nobody is selfish about it. It’s not any different than any other game. Same mentality. It’s more the honor to do it.”
Bumgarner, 24, will be the Giants’ youngest Opening Day starter in 30 years. Mark Davis, who later won a Cy Young Award as a reliever for the San Diego Padres, was 23 when he started the opener in 1984.