"It's not quite there yet," he said. "That's one I'd like to have that coming a little better. It's not far off. It's better than it's ever been this early."
Then Bumgarner demonstrated the drive for excellence that separates him from many athletes. When a reporter mentioned that breaking pitches are tougher to command in Arizona's dry air, the Giants' 2014 postseason hero pointed out that he must pitch here and in Colorado under similar conditions during the regular season.
"I feel you can still throw it here just as good," he said. "You just have to be perfect with it. You can't be off at all."
Bumgarner was a little off in the first inning, when Alexei Ramirez stroked a two-run single. But only one run was earned, and Bumgarner retired the final six batters he faced. "Everything felt really, really good today," said the left-hander, who's scheduled to start the Giants' April 6 regular-season opener at Arizona.
Though Bumgarner might have hoped for a longer outing, he sounded satisfied with being able to "get up" from the dugout to the mound for a third time.
"That was important," said Bumgarner, who trimmed his spring ERA from 14.73 to 9.95.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.