Bumgarner 'thankful and blessed' for opener honor

Left-hander will make first Opening Day start March 31 in Arizona

Bumgarner 'thankful and blessed' for opener honor

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Receiving the Giants' Opening Day starting assignment left Madison Bumgarner feeling truly humbled and appreciative.

"I'm privileged, thankful and blessed for the opportunity," Bumgarner said Wednesday, one day after manager Bruce Bochy named him to face the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 31. Bumgarner wasn't available for comment after Bochy's announcement.

The quality of the Giants' other starters prompted Bumgarner to believe that he might never start a season opener.

"I think you could put anybody we have in that role and I don't think anybody would question it," said Bumgarner, who led the Giants last year in victories (13), innings (201 1/3), strikeouts (199), ERA (2.77) and opponents' batting average (.203). Being selected to start Opening Day, he said, is "something you can't really control."

But one always can dream about it.

"You think about it once you get into pro baseball," he said. "That's something you'd like to have the opportunity to do."

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.