Madison Bumgarner still won’t talk about his secret rodeo life after Diamondbacks debut

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Arizona Diamondbacks ace Madison Bumgarner was happy to talk about his Arizona Diamondbacks debut and his sharp curveball, but questions about his secret rodeo gig?

Uh, not so much.

After Bumgarner tossed two innings Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds, the story was brought up in virtually every conceivable way by a horde of reporters, but Bumgarner refused to engage.

“Like I said,’’ Bumgarner kept saying, “I felt really good today.’’

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Bumgarner had been competing on the rodeo circuit, roping steer. What's life been like in recent days?

Since that story came out?

“What story?’’ he said. “You have to help me a little.’’

The story that you were competing in rodeos.

“Like I said,’’ he repeated, “I felt really good out there today.’’

Any comments from the fans?

“Yeah, I mean some people were saying, you know, I’m glad I’m here and stuff like that,’’ Bumgarner said. "That was pretty good. It’s hard to hear out there when you’re out there getting ready.’’

Bumgarner made his Diamondbacks spring training debut on Thursday. (Photo: Rob Schumacher, The Arizona Republic)

While Bumgarner wouldn't dive into the rodeo stuff, he was quite pleased with his debut in which he retired six of seven batters. He threw 17 of 24 pitches for strikes, struck out four batters without a walk and generated seven swings-and-misses.

The only mistake was a 92-mph fastball that Derek Dietrich hit for a homer. Otherwise, he was sensational for the first outing of the spring.

“Everything honestly felt better than I was expecting to,’’ Bumgarner said, “for the first time out. I was pretty happy with it. As long as we keep progressing off that, that’s all we’re looking for.

“The main goal of the spring for me is to make sure when we leave here I'm ready to throw you know 100-plus pitches, and be able to go seven [innings] or so.’’

Any awkwardness pitching in a non-Giants uniform for the first time since being drafted 13 years ago?

“Man, honestly, for me when I’m out there I just kind of focus on what I’m doing,’’ he said. “Honestly, I never thought about it one time while I was out there.’’

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