Madison Bumgarner is one of the best bang-for-your-buck MLB players in the game today

The San Francisco Giants have been without ace Madison Bumgarner all season. But prior to Sunday’s game, manager Bruce Bochy left the door open for Bumgarner to possibly return as early as Friday.

In his first rehab assignment on Saturday, Bumgarner allowed no runs, no hits, walked one, and struck out eight in 3.2 innings for Triple-A Sacramento.

Bumgarner sustained a fracture to his throwing hand in what likely would have been his final spring training appearance before Opening Day.

The Giants enter Sunday’s game with the Chicago Cubs at an unimpressive 25-27, but are only 2.5 games out of first place in the National League West. Should San Francisco fall out of contention, it’s been reported that Bumgarner could be available. Then again, a healthy Bumgarner could go a long way in keeping the Giants around in the NL West race.