ST. LOUIS -- Madison Bumgarner, the young left-hander excused from the Giants' rotation for the remainder of the National League Championship Series, becomes a third southpaw in San Francisco's bullpen.
Javier Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt will remain on the front burner when manager Bruce Bochy needs a lefty. Bumgarner does not figure to appear unless needed for long relief earlier than the sixth inning.
However, Bumgarner takes his seat in the bullpen with the same positive attitude as did Tim Lincecum earlier this postseason.
"He's excited about helping the club out, coming out of the bullpen," Bochy said prior to Thursday night's Game 4. "I think he understands why we're going that route and he's all in on this, helping us out in the bullpen. He is available, and part of it is the player accepting what you're asking. And he has, so he's all set to go."
Bumgarner's professional relief experience is minimal, but exceptional. His last appearance out of the bullpen came in Game 6 of the 2010 NLCS in Philadelphia, where he worked two shutout innings of the Giants' 3-2 pennant-clinching win.
His only three other Major League relief appearances came during his brief 2009 debut. On those occasions, he hurled a total of 4 2/3 shutout innings. Othewise, Bumgarner worked once in relief in 63 Minor League games.
Add it up, and he has started 156 of his 160 pro games.