Bumgarner confirmed to start Cactus opener

Bumgarner confirmed to start Cactus opener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Madison Bumgarner was indeed named to start the Giants' Cactus League opener Friday against the Reds, though manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday that the assignment was not "etched in stone."

Bochy noted that Bumgarner might feel like delaying his turn.

"There's no reason we would skip him. He just might want to start later," Bochy said.

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Bumgarner also is likely to start the April 2 regular-season opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Phoenix's Chase Field.

Assuming Bumgarner performs Friday, right-hander Matt Cain will be among the pitchers working in relief that afternoon. Cain, considered among the leading contenders for the fifth starter's spot, looked sharp Wednesday as he threw live batting practice to Brandon Belt and Michael Morse.

Left-hander Ty Blach, who's also competing for the fifth starter's spot, will pitch Saturday against a Cubs split-squad. Matt Moore and rookie Tyler Beede will follow on Sunday against Cincinnati. That leaves Jeff Samardzija to work on Monday against the A's. Bumgarner will pitch next Tuesday against San Diego in Peoria if he keeps his start Friday.

At some juncture, the Giants will mix in right-hander Johnny Cueto, who remains in the Dominican Republic awaiting a visa for his ailing father so they can travel together to the United States.

Hwang on joining Giants

Plenty of action at Minors complex: With an excess of players in camp, many are taking or throwing live batting practice at the Giants' Minor League complex several blocks away. Bochy chose to watch activity there Tuesday, and was rewarded with the sight of Korean third baseman Jae-gyun Hwang belting a home run.

"I like his swing," Bochy said of Hwang, who clobbered 52 home runs in the previous two seasons with the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization. "He rotates, he has good power and can go the other way."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. 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.