Bumgarner searching for cutter command

Pence could make spring debut Friday; Panik notches three hits vs. Reds

Bumgarner searching for cutter command

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- An unruffled Madison Bumgarner complained Tuesday night that he has not gained command of one of his most effective deliveries, his cut fastball.

The Giants ace worked three innings and surrendered three runs, all in the first inning, in a 16-7 Cactus League triumph over the Cincinati Reds.

"Something just doesn't feel quite right coming out of my hand," Bumgarner said. The left-hander calmly added, "We've got time to get it going."

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Typically, Bumgarner's cutter comes easily to him.

"Not this year, so far," he said.

MadBum strikes out Schebler

Bumgarner, the Giants' starter for the April 4 season opener at Milwaukee, also threw an indifferent fastball to Scott Schebler, who mashed it for a two-run homer. Cincinnati's scoring was abetted by Bumgarner's mishandling of Eugenio Suarez's potential double-play comebacker following Jake Cave's leadoff single. Bumgarner threw to first base for an out but clearly was annoyed with himself.

"You know what to do and what not to do, and you get reminded of it at this time of year," Bumgarner said.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy understood Bumgarner's brief frustration.

"The good players are demanding of themselves," he said.

Pence close to debut

Bochy said right fielder Hunter Pence, recovering from right Achilles tendinitis, likely will make his Cactus League debut in Friday's game against Seattle.

Bochy on Pence's injury status

Pence participated in Tuesday's pregame fielding practice, prompting him to insist to Bochy that he could play Wednesday. But Bochy opted for the later date.

"It's better to be safe than sorry with the Achilles," Bochy said.

In other health-related developments, Bochy said he expects closer Santiago Casilla and setup reliever Sergio Romo to make their first exhibition appearances soon. Casilla, who has been bothered by the flu, will throw a round of batting practice Wednesday before progressing to Cactus League activity. Romo, said Bochy, will need two sessions of throwing to live hitters before appearing in a game.

Panik legs out a triple

• Giants second baseman Joe Panik provided further evidence he has recovered from the stress fracture in his back, going 3-for-4 with a triple Tuesday. Said Bochy, "Joe looked good, didn't he? He's running well. That's a good sign."

• Bochy said he wants Chris Heston, San Francisco's projected long reliever, to be physically prepared to begin the season as a starter. This is largely because the Giants have no wiggle room with Matt Cain. The right-hander hasn't yet appeared in a game due to removal of a cyst from his pitching arm and probably won't be fit to join the season-opening rotation if he endures any additional delays in his preparation.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.