Epic showdown: Lincecum vs. Sandoval
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Imagining Pablo Sandoval facing Tim Lincecum is the sort of fantasy many fans probably entertain to break up the offseason monotony.
Well, fantasy became reality Wednesday at Scottsdale Stadium, where Lincecum pitched “live” (full-speed) batting practice to the Kung Fu Panda.
What unfolded was predictable. With pitchers being ahead of the hitters (have you heard that one before?) at this stage of Spring Training, Sandoval did not make authoritative contact off Lincecum. But Sandoval did swing four times in five pitches against the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner, so not much has changed.
Sandoval swung and missed on a Lincecum fastball and took an offspeed pitch before tapping two grounders to the right side. The first of those might have bounced through for a hit, depending on how the infielders might have been positioned. Sandoval finished his confrontation against Lincecum by fouling off a pitch.
“You’re always wondering if he’s going to hit one off the ground that you’re trying to bury, or that changeup right back at you that you left up by accident,” Lincecum said. “I see why he’s a tough guy to face.”
Lincecum, who’ll start next Wednesday’s Cactus League opener against Seattle, was pleased with his batting-practice stint overall. He also faced Nate Schierholtz, Aubrey Huff and Buster Posey, whose line drive to right field was the closest semblance to a hit.
“Everything kind of felt where it should have been,” said Lincecum, who threw all of his pitches.
In other camp developments, infielder-outfielder Mark DeRosa (left wrist) took live BP but only “tracked” pitches and didn’t swing. He’s still expected to be able to participate fully in workouts soon.
Manager Bruce Bochy said that second baseman Freddy Sanchez (left shoulder, left knee) could be ready to begin fielding groundballs by the weekend.
MLB Network will air the Giants’ “Inside the Clubhouse — Town Hall Meeting” on four separate occasions (all times Pacific): Sunday, 9:30 p.m.; Monday, 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 1:30 p.m.; Wednesday, midnight.
– Chris Haft