Results tagged ‘ Tim Lincecum ’
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — It’s February 26, not April 26 or September 26, so the sight of Tim Lincecum yielding line drives to John Bowker on back-to-back pitches Friday shouldn’t be alarming.
If anything, it was an encouraging sign from Bowker, who’s competing for a reserve outfield spot.
Bowker pounded a curveball that Lincecum dangled and a fastball that the two-time Cy Young Award winner left over the plate. Lincecum then coaxed a swing and a miss from Bowker on a breaking ball.
Overall, it was a matter of “getting work in” for Lincecum, who threw approximately 40 pitches to Bowker, Jesus Guzman, Brett Pill and Hector Sanchez. Lincecum is scheduled to start Wednesday’s Cactus League opener against Seattle.
Second baseman Freddy Sanchez has insisted that his recovery from left shoulder surgery is ahead of schedule, and he’s about to prove it. Sanchez is expected to begin fielding ground balls Saturday in his first baseball-related activity since his Dec. 23 operation.
“Awesome” was how Sanchez described his feelings.
Sanchez still isn’t certain when he’ll begin swinging a bat, and he remains likely to open the season on the 15-day disabled list.
Bruce Bochy, who possesses a dry and underappreciated wit, spun a good line when he delivered the news that catcher Eli Whiteside’s wife, Amy, gave birth to the couple’s first child, Whit.
Somebody asked whether the infant had gray hair, referring to Whiteside’s prematurely whitening locks. Bochy paused for a beat and replied, “DARK gray.”
MLB Network will provide delayed telecasts of four Giants exhibitions from the Cactus League: March 16 vs. Cleveland, March 20 vs. Cincinnati, March 25 vs. Oakland and March 27 against the Los Angeles Angels.
– Chris Haft
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
SAN FRANCISCO — Truly rabid Giants fans still pondering What Might Have Been in 2009 can torture themselves further as the World Series begins Wednesday by recalling San Francisco’s efforts against the Philadelphia Phillies, who hope to capture their second consecutive Fall Classic.
The Giants were 4-3 against Philadelphia and easily could have fared better. They lost twice by one run in a Sept. 1-3 series at Citizens Bank Park. San Francisco took three of four from the Phils July 30-Aug. 2 at AT&T Park, emboldening those who suggested that the Giants would be tough to face in a short postseason series.
A game-by-game look at the season series showed that the Giants were alternately at their most impressive and most vulnerable against the National League champions:
July 30: Pablo Sandoval said he wasn’t acting out of revenge toward Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who left him off the NL All-Star team. But it sure looked like it as Sandoval homered, doubled and drove in four runs in a 7-2 Giants victory. Jonathan Sanchez turned in a typical performance, lasting only 5 2/3 innings but allowing just three hits while striking out seven.
July 31: The punchless Giants showed up, mustering four hits in a 5-1 loss. Then again, they faced the formidable Cliff Lee, who allowed two runners to reach scoring position while throwing a complete game. San Francisco trailed 1-0 when Brandon Medders and Jeremy Affeldt endured rare struggles as they combined to issue three walks and hit a batter in Philadelphia’s three-run seventh.
Aug. 1: Tim Lincecum was nothing short of magnificent, striking out eight and retiring the final 10 batters he faced in an eight-inning effort. Juan Uribe drove in the game’s only runs with a pair of sacrifice flies off Joe Blanton in a 2-0 Giants victory. Lincecum improved to 12-3 and Brian Wilson pitched a perfect ninth for his 27th save.
Aug. 2: Trailing 3-1 against Cole Hamels, the undaunted Giants scored three runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to pull away and win, 7-3. Eugenio Velez contributed to both uprisings, blooping a two-out single and scoring on Freddy Sanchez’s two-run double in the fifth before stroking a two-run single in the sixth.
Sept. 1: The Giants arrived in Philadelphia tied with Colorado for the Wild Card lead, but Hamels precipitated their September slide by allowing two hits in a 1-0 decision. Sanchez struck out eight in six innings, lapsing only when Shane Victorino singled leading off the fourth inning and scored on Ryan Howard’s one-out double. Rich Aurilia opened the ninth with a pinch-hit single but pinch-runner Andres Torres was thrown out trying to steal second base, ending the rally before it began.
Sept. 2: Brad Penny dominated in his Giants debut, surrendering five hits in eight shutout innings. The resurgent Torres hit a fifth-inning single to open the scoring before Uribe and Aaron Rowand delivered back-to-back homers in a three-run sixth to hasten San Francisco’s 4-0 win.
Sept. 3: An instant classic ended in frustration for the Giants. Lincecum struck out 11 in seven innings while allowing two runs and four hits. But Pedro Martinez was slightly better, blanking San Francisco for seven innings after Velez homered to open the game. After the Cy Young Award winners left the stage, the Giants put runners on the corners with two outs in the ninth against Brad Lidge before pinch-hitter Fred Lewis grounded into a force play to end Philadelphia’s 2-1 triumph.
– Chris Haft
SAN FRANCISCO — The inevitable is about to become reality Friday night at AT&T Park, where Buster Posey will start his first Major League game.
Posey, the Giants’ catcher and, some believe, franchise player of the future, will combine with Tim Lincecum to form San Francisco’s battery. That’s a combination Giants officials hope will take the team to the Promised Land (i.e. the World Series) someday.
The Giants’ unlikely chances of catching Colorado in the National League Wild Card race, combined with Bengie Molina’s hand injury, prompted Posey’s entry into the lineup.
“It’s time,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We know it’s a longshot where we are with nine games to go. And with Bengie banged up, it’s time to give Buster some starts and playing time. … It’s not an easy debut, catching Timmy and facing [Carlos] Zambrano, but he can handle it.”
Molina sustained a contusion on one of his fingers when a foul tip struck him on his left (gloved) hand, which has been sore much of the season. X-rays showed no fracture, but Molina was in intense pain.
Posey, the Giants’ No. 1 selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, has appeared in three games, all as a late-game replacement. He entered Friday’s game with a single in three at-bats.
– Chris Haft
SAN FRANCISCO — Right-hander Tim Lincecum, who was scratched from his most recent scheduled start last Tuesday with back spasms, threw off a bullpen mound Saturday without any apparent or immediate physical setbacks.
“Perfect,” was how Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti described the session.
This means that Lincecum should be fit to start Monday night against the Colorado Rockies. The last time Lincecum faced Colorado, August 28, he surrendered four hits in eight shutout innings as the Giants won, 2-0.
One cautionary note: Nothing’s official until the Giants say so, and that won’t happen until Sunday, when the team’s medical and/or training staff re-evaluates Lincecum. Occasionally, in any sport, an athlete recovering from injury will have a promising-looking workout but will report soreness or an aggravated ailment the next day.
Lincecum threw his entire variety of pitches during his workout, then did his required running in the outfield.
– Chris Haft
SAN FRANCISCO — The headline says it all. I’ve received no classified information, but I firmly believe that Tim Lincecum’s ailing back should not cause panic. Here’s why:
– First and foremost, it’s not an arm injury.
– Nor is it an oblique injury, although we reporters were told that Lincecum’s left side is affected. Side (oblique) strains have been the undoing of several pitchers, including Tim Hudson, another smallish hurler to whom Lincecum has been compared.
– Then there was the comment made by Bengie Molina after the Giants lost 4-3 Tuesday to the Padres. “It’s encouraging for us that he’s probably going to [make] his next start,” Molina said. “We need him on the mound.”
Does Molina know something that Lincecum or the Giants’ athletic training staff isn’t sharing with the public until they absolutely, positively have to open their mouths? Possibly. But I’m surmising that Molina’s remarks reflected the scuttlebutt in the clubhouse.
– Chris Haft
SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants announced what appeared to be a wise move after Sunday’s 9-5 victory, disclosing that right-hander Tim Lincecum’s next start will be delayed by a day.
Lincecum thus will start in Philadelphia on Thursday, giving him five days’ rest — one more than usual. He threw a season-high 127 pitches during his eight shutout innings Friday against Colorado, compelling the Giants to allow him more recovery time.
The ubiquitous To Be Announced temporarily fills Wednesday’s spot in the Giants’ rotation. They can’t recall right-hander Joe Martinez, who was optioned to Triple-A Fresno on Friday and must stay there at least 10 days (a period which extends virtually to the end of the Minor League regular season). Other possibilities abound at Fresno, including Ryan Sadowski, who had an earlier stint with the Giants; Matt Kinney or Ramon Ortiz, both big league veterans, or 10-game winner Steve Hammond.
Eli Whiteside, who caught all six games of the Giants’ homestand while Bengie Molina nursed a tight right quadriceps, contributed significantly to the club’s success. He hit only .238 (5-for-21), but threw out three of four runners attempting to steal bases and handled the pitchers smoothly.
“He saved us on this homestand with his play,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Any time you have a guy who has spent some time in the Minor Leagues like Eli has, they learn the game. They get so much more experience versus a young guy who might be rushed up here.”
There was no such thing as a routine fly ball at AT&T Park on Sunday. It could have been the shifting breezes; it could have been the changing sky, as the fog burned off and the sun alternately retreated behind and emerged from clouds.
Giants first baseman Travis Ishikawa had an adventurous time with Troy Tulowitzki’s third-inning popup, falling over backward at the pitcher’s mound after making an off-balance catch. Colorado left fielder Ryan Spilborghs seemed to have a shot at catching Fred Lewis’ sixth-inning double but missed it, and right fielder Brad Hawpe played Juan Uribe’s eighth-inning fly ball into a single and a two-base error.
“The park was playing a little funny today,” Giants right-hander Matt Cain said. “Balls were going a little farther than they should, the way this park [usually] plays. … Once it went up in the air, you really didn’t know where it was going to go or where it was going to come down.”
– Chris Haft
SAN FRANCISCO — First baseman Angel Villalona, one of the Giants’ leading prospects, is expected to miss at least four weeks with a strained left quadriceps.<p/>
Villalona injured himself Tuesday while playing for the Giants’ Class A San Jose affiliate. His injury will prevent him from participating in Sunday’s Futures Game with the World team. In 74 games, Villalona, who hit .267 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs in 74 games, played in last year’s Futures Game at Yankee Stadium.
Bengie Molina delivered a high compliment to Pablo Sandoval after Thursday’s 9-3 vvictory over Florida.
“I really really hope that pablo can hit 30 home runs and get 150 RBIs,” said Molina, who’s tied with Sandoval for the team lead in RBIs with 50. “I wish and hope he beats me in RBIs, homers and average … I love that kid. After Roberto Clemente, he’s my favorite player. And he should have gone to the All-Star Game.”
Tim Lincecum became the third Giants starter to lose a no-hitter upon facing the first batter of the seventh inning. It also happened to Randy Johnson on April 19 against Arizona and Barry Zito on June 21 against Texas.
– Chris Haft
SAN FRANCISCO — A look at the podium the other day as the Giants showed off their All-Stars, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, and their would-be All-Star, Final Vote candidate Pablo Sandoval, reflected the club’s makeover in recent years.
Giants management said that it wanted a younger team after jettisoning Barry Bonds following the 2007. Well, that has happened. Moreover, some of their youthful players have developed more quickly than the front office might have anticipated.
Just look at San Francisco’s All-Star trio (I’m counting Sandoval, for simplicity’s sake).
Sandoval is 22. Cain is 24. Lincecum is 25. What a triumph for the Giants’ scouting and development sector. If the Giants can somehow produce a few more players like them (Buster Posey? Madison Bumgarner? Angel Villalona?), maybe, just maybe, that elusive World Series Champions banner will fly from one of the center-field flag poles sometime in the next decade.
Randy Johnson, the 303-game winner whose experience and success legitimize pretty much everything he has to say about baseball, addressed the wondrous pair of Cain and Lincecum.
“To have two pitchers like that, doing what they’re doing on a high level every fifth day, it’s pretty exciting to watch,” Johnson said. “That was one reason why I got excited every fifth day, to go out there and be a part of that. To have both of them represent the Giants [as All-Stars] and be on top of their game right now, that’s great.
“I hope they can continue to do that in the second half because that’s what it will take, especially when we start playing the Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies and Milwaukee again — teams that are right behind us in the Wild Card and ahead of us in the division.”
– Chris Haft
ST. LOUIS – For the first 4 2/3 innings Monday night, while it seemed as if Tim Lincecum might pitch a no-hitter, a handful of close calls and sparkling plays stood out.
Albert Pujols ended the fourth inning by scorching a line drive directly at third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Had it traveled a few feet in any other direction, it would have been a double.
Second baseman Juan Uribe preserved Lincecum’s perfect game in the fifth inning by darting up the middle to snare Chris Duncan’s smash on one hop and make an off-balance but strong throw to first base for the out.
Then Rick Ankiel swung at Lincecum’s very next pitch and broke his bat but managed to bloop the ball into right-center field for a single.
Still, I remain convinced that Lincecum or Matt Cain will throw a no-hitter someday.
Even Bruce Bochy admitted that thoughts of Lincecum pitching a no-hitter crossed his mind, though that’s not the kind of thing a manager often admits.
“To be honest, yeah,” Bochy said. “That’s a good-hitting ballclub over there. But with Timmy, sure.”
But Bochy added, with Ankiel’s hit squarely in mind, “It takes a lot of luck to throw a no-hitter.”
Giants closer Brian Wilson, who has listened ad nauseum to coaches and managers telling him that he must mix up his pitches more, seized upon Mariano Rivera’s milestone 500th save as an example of a pitcher who excels without variety.
“The guy’s gone after hitters with one pitch his whole career,” Wilson said, referring to Rivera’s cut fastball. “Pitching coaches always harp on getting a third pitch, a fourth pitch, and he has always been the case where I’d say, ‘Well, Mariano’s got one pitch, so” — and then dot, dot, dot.
“It’s such a good pitch that it’s really four different types of pitches. He can throw it front door to a righty, back door to a lefty, he can throw it to the other side of the plate and he can throw it down. Maybe that’s all you need. His plate zone because of that pitch is expanded.”
Center fielder Aaron Rowand left Monday’s game in the seventh inning after he was hit above the left knee by a pitch from St. Louis’ Clayton Mortensen, who was making his Major League debut. Rowand hopes to play Tuesday, though he sported an ugly bruise on his leg that’s likely to swell.
– Chris Haft