PHOENIX – Manager Dave Roberts feels the San Francisco Giants’ pain. He lost his ace to an injury for 75 days last season.
But the injury to Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner was not only “unfortunate” as Roberts described it. It was also avoidable. Bumgarner suffered injuries to his ribs and shoulder while riding a dirt bike on the team’s off day Thursday. He is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
“I was surprised. We were out here for early BP when I got the news,” Roberts said. “Obviously accidents do happen. It happened. But to your ace pitcher? It’s a big blow.
“It’s kind of unfortunate for Madison’s situation. But it’s a reminder for all players what can happen. That’s why they’re called accidents.”
Roberts joked that he didn’t think he had to worry about losing any of his players to a dirt bike accident – “We try to keep them off the dirt bikes,” he said.
And out of caves.
Roberts recalled he had the standard list of prohibited activities in his contract as a player – skydiving, dirt bike riding and spelunking.
“In my contract (as a player), there was no spelunking. So I stayed away from the spelunking,” he said. “I never spelunked. I contemplated it. But per my contract, I couldn’t go spelunking.”
No cave exploration will uncover an adequate replacement for Bumgarner but the Dodgers will still see two left-handed starting pitchers when they go to San Francisco for a four-game series next week. Ty Blach is scheduled to take Bumgarner’s turn in the rotation on Tuesday with Matt Moore scheduled to start Thursday.
“I know it’s going to affect them,” Roberts said of the loss of Bumgarner. “That’s something they’re going to have to deal with.”
Roberts made a change at the top of his lineup Friday night, moving Joc Pederson into the leadoff spot for the first time this season and dropping Andrew Toles to seventh. Toles had made seven starts as the leadoff man this season – every game started by an opposing right-hander until Friday.
Roberts indicated the move was made because he wanted someone at the top of the lineup who would work deeper counts. Pederson averaged 4.21 pitches per plate appearance last season and 4.32 this season before Friday. In his first 115 big-league plate appearances, Toles averaged 3.51 pitches.
“Right now, you’ve got an aggressive hitter in Corey (Seager batting second) and if you have an aggressive hitter in Tolesy you put a little pressure on JT (Justin Turner) to be more passive than maybe he might want to be,” Roberts said. “So I just want to see somebody run counts more and not have Tolesy change his approach because that’s who he is and we like his aggressiveness.
“Just when I watch baseball games I see how things play out. It’s more on what I’ve got from watching our offense the first 16 games.”
Whatever limited progress left-hander Scott Kazmir might have been making in his attempt to pitch…