While the San Francisco Giants season might already be lost, a light of hope will soon return to them. San Francisco's ace Madison Bumgarner is still slated to return to the rotation shortly after the All Star Break in a start against the San Diego Padres on July 15. The 27-year-old southpaw hasn't pitched in a major-league game since April 19, days before he went dirt biking in Colorado and an accident resulted in a sprained AC joint and bruised ribs.
After months of rehabilitation, Bumgarner went out on a minor-league rehab assignment that hasn't gone quiet well numbers wise. While the focus of the four-start stint in the minors is meant to slowly build up his pitch count, the lefty has got shelled in multiple outings.
Most recently against the Dodgers High-A club, Bumgarner surrendered nine earned runs, including four home runs, across four innings pitched. It brings his current numbers on the rehab assignment to 16 hits and 13 earned runs allowed across 10 2/3 innings. But the Giants have not expressed any concern over the numbers and will send him out for one more appearance to allow him to work up to 90 pitches.
Fantasy owners should be cautious when Bumgarner returns. While the immediate reaction upon the return of an ace is to throw him right back into the lineup, it seems like there is a little rust on the belt that he still needs to shake off. A matchup against the soft-hitting Padres might be too much to ignore, but DFS owners should monitor him closely and at least look at other options. When fully healthy, Bumgarner can be one of the seven best pitchers in baseball and his return when cleared will bring joy to Giants fans and fantasy owners.