You’re ready for the season to begin, and so is Madison Bumgarner.

Oh, he may still have a few kinks to work out in terms of stuff or mechanics. But in a Cactus League start Thursday against the Chicago Cubs, the cantankerous San Francisco Giants left-hander proved he was in midseason umbrage form.

After striking out Jason Heyward in the fourth inning, Bumgarner and the Cubs outfielder exchanged words, with Bumgarner stalking aggressively off the mound. After the game, Bumgarner suggested Heyward and Dexter Fowler, who was on second base at the time, may have been communicating about pitch types or locations, per CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic.

Heyward later denied it and said he was simply asking Fowler to tell him if the final strike was correctly called.

Whichever version you buy, the takeaway is the same: Spring training is long. Long enough for silly spats like that to grab headlines, because we’re all past ready for meaningful baseball.

That’s not to say the exhibition slate is devoid of intrigue. As Opening Day draws closer, position battles heat up, roster decisions loom large and statistics start to matter, at least a little.

In this week’s edition of “hottest questions,” we found room for a closer showdown in Toronto Blue Jays camp, an All-Star third baseman on the rise (and another possibly on the bench), a Cubs pitcher not named Jake Arrieta or Jon Lester and, yes, some Alex Rodriguez retirement talk.

Dig in when ready, butfor the love of Bumgarnerdon’t tip any pitches. 

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