Bullington's spot safe or now
Thursday, March 27, 2014 11:00 AM
HIROSHIMA, Japan - Carp manager Kenjiro Nomura has admitted concern over the effectiveness of Madison's Bryan Bullington in the wake of his two most recent preseason starts but he remains committed to keeping the former Indiana Mr. Baseball in his starting rotation to open the season.
Bullington, 33, a 1999 Madison graduate who is in his fourth season of Japanese baseball with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, has been hammered in his last two spring training outings.
The Carp's No. 2 starter behind staff ace Kenta Maeda, Bullington has given up 17 runs - 14 of those earned - in his last two exhibition game starts and the Carp are closing in fast on the season opener on Thursday, May 1.
Nomura was thought to be considering other options like Yuya Fukui or Jumpei Shinoda to take Bullington's spot in the lineup but the manager announced Wednesday that he will leave Bullington in the opening day starting rotation but consider other options if the 6-foot-5 right-hander's struggles continue into the regular season.
The Carp open the season against the Hanshin Tigers on May 1 in Koshien and Maeda will be the opening day starter for Hiroshima.
Bullington was 11-9 with a 3.23 ERA with the Carp in 2013 with 117 strikeouts in 172.2 innings including a 7-2 record and a playoff win in the second half of the season. He signed a contract extension in the offseason that will pay him $1.35 million plus incentives in 2014.