Renowned for approaching 95 mph with his fastball early in his professional career, Bumgarner didn't display that velocity during a four-game stint with the Giants last September, though he posted a 1.80 ERA and struck out 10 in 10 innings. This spring, his fastball typically traveled around 88-89 mph.Bochy downplayed Bumgarner's diminished heat. "It's more important for him to control the ball," Bochy said. "He didn't have his good command this spring. Building arm strength is part of Spring Training." Bochy acknowledged that the early-season schedule was a peripheral but not a primary factor in the Bumgarner decision. The Giants have scheduled off-days in seven of the first eight weeks, leaving the fifth starter vulnerable to being skipped on multiple occasions. "We don't want [Bumgarner] up here sitting," Bochy said. "He needs to pitch on a consistent basis." Bumgarner's equilibrium was rocked in late February when his half-sister, Dena Byrd, died suddenly in North Carolina. But Bumgarner insisted afterward that pitching was a sanctuary for him, and Bochy concurred that the rookie seemed fine. However, Bochy suggested that Bumgarner may have tried too hard to justify his status as the 10th overall selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft -- the same spot where Tim Lincecum was chosen one year earlier. "I do think he was pressing a little bit," Bochy said of Bumgarner. Meanwhile, Bumgarner was eclipsed by Wellemeyer (1.20 ERA) and Pucetas (0.64 ERA), who have pitched five games each. Bochy issued glowing remarks about Wellemeyer, stopping just short of handing the right-hander the No. 5 job. Wellemeyer's experience in the rotation and bullpen would seem to make him an ideal choice for the role, especially if the schedule prevents him from starting regularly and forces Bochy to use him as a long reliever. "Todd's got the experience," Bochy said. "I'm very pleased with where we are with Todd. He's done a great job and has been a great acquisition." Martinez, 27, has been hampered by inflammation in his throwing elbow and appeared in only one Cactus League game, allowing four runs and five hits in one inning on March 6 against Arizona. This contrasted with last year, when the unheralded rookie made the team out of Spring Training and was the winning pitcher on Opening Day. "With the setback, there's not enough time to get Joe ready," Bochy said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.