EXTRA BAGGS: Lincecum knows what must come next, etc.


EXTRA BAGGS: Lincecum knows what must come next, etc.

CHICAGO Here is what Tim Lincecum is thinking right now:

Take out the statistics. When Ive had to dig deep, Ivedone it.

This is not Timmy the rookie curiosity, who whipped pitcheswith ferocity. This is not Timmy the Cy Young Award winner, who didn't need to read scouting reports to level a lineup.

What we have now is Timmy the veteran. He has been to the top and back down. He has a track recordand hes going to lean on it, dammit. He was 0-5 during a miserable August2010, and he turned it around so dramatically by sparkling all throughSeptember, then into the postseason, then standing on the mound and dominatingin the only November game in franchise history.

You remember how that one ended. Timmy does, too.

If this first half is my terrible August (of 2010), thatswhat it is, said Lincecum, after pitching the Giants to a 5-2 victory over theCubs at Wrigley Field. Weve just got to keep pushing hard and heading in theright direction. So Ill do that.

We know whats at stake. We know how to do it.

They knew what was at stake last season, too. People neverstopped reminding them. There was a Showtime documentary series. There wereheightened expectations. There was the Carlos Beltran trade. They were supposedto defend. But with the lens trained on them, and the Arizona Diamondbacks kickingup dust behind them, the Giants burned up down the stretch.

Lincecum admitted this spring that all the pressure todefend their World Series title became a distraction. Their motivations wereexternal to not let people down and not internal, as they should have been.The Giants culture in 2010 was so unique because, to a man, they had an earnestdesire to win for the player one locker over. It was a defiance, of sorts. Theyplayed without fear because they had nothing to lose.

Last years team had a crown to lose.

When you win a World Series, its not often you win anotherone the next season, Lincecum said in a cramped Wrigley clubhouse. You wantthat one and you fight for it, but it can be a different fight. Its not thegrind youre looking for, and you can focus on the wrong things. This year,were focused on ourselves and not what theyre doing on our heels. Simplifyingit is really helping.

Lincecum feels like hes back in nothing to lose modeagain. Theres certainly no rescuing the back of his baseball card, as heentered Saturday with a 7-14 record and 5.30 ERA.

But imagine if Lincecum can replicate his finish from twoseasons ago, when he went 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA in his final six assignments.

Ive already done it before, he said. Ive been there. Ican do it.

It wont be easy. Lincecum has battled to repeat hismechanics all season. Hes 28 now, hes thrown 19,347 pitches in a relativelycompressed span, and its only natural for some air to escape the balloon.

This deep into this brow-furrowing season, there is no suchthing as a hes back start.

But there were encouraging signs at Wrigley Field. For one,Lincecum was able to throw his fastball inside to right-handed hitters something he was totally incapable of doing in his previous start against theAtlanta Braves, and on many other occasions this season.

For another, Lincecum had choices in big moments. He couldthrow his slider whether behind or ahead in the count. With two strikes, hecould throw his curveball as a chase pitch or a freeze pitch (hello, AlfonsoSoriano). His changeup faded when he needed it.

He had confidence in all his pitches and used them, saidGiants manager Bruce Bochy, almost seeming refreshed to put those wordstogether. He was mixing it up, hitting his spots, throwing any pitch at anytime. Thats what he does when hes on.

What felt best, Lincecum said, was leaving the game inthe situation I did, with the lead.

Lincecums spot in a potential playoff rotation is yet to beestablished, too, although I cant imagine any scenario besides an injury thatwould lead the Giants to leave him out of the top four.

And theres no way I see Lincecum pitching his way off aplayoff roster.

The Giants felt from the day they drafted Lincecum that ifhe didnt prove durable enough to make 30-plus starts, he could be apotentially dominant weapon in relief. Hes resilient, he never ices and hegets loose in five or six tosses.

I still believe there will be a time in Lincecums careerwhen he goes the John Smoltz route and becomes a closer. I doubt he or hisagent would embrace that notion next year, as Lincecum comes up on free agencyfor the first time. But itll happen someday.

Lincecum was asked by plate umpire Dan Iassogna to take offhis bracelets during the game. The Cubs complained they were a distraction.

Lincecum scowled, but complied. He said teams usually dontsay anything, but hes received the request before. It wasnt anything new.

Lincecum figures that Xavier Nady deserves a uniformpromotion from No. 68 after hitting a bases-clearing double in his first game asa Giant. As for his own number, Lincecum said he had No. 60 in his first springtraining and he never asked for No. 55 when he arrived in the majors. Clubhousemanager Mike Murphy just gave it to him.

It seemed appropriate enough. He threw hard, and 55 isassociated with the speed limit.

Yeah, and thats what I think about all the time when I seeone driving, Lincecum said. Ive gotta steal one of those.

Joaquin Arias began taking fly balls in left field onSaturday. Hell start at shortstop Sunday and Monday, as the Giants faceleft-handers. Bochy said he didnt want to burn out Arias with a bunch of earlywork on the days he is in the starting lineup, but the discussion continues

Noticed this while looking at some statistical splits:

The Giants have one home run all season from their second basemen.They have two from their pitchers.

Padres non-tender former A’s P Ross, former Giants C Sanchez

Padres non-tender former A’s P Ross, former Giants C Sanchez

NEW YORK -- Tyson Ross, an All-Star pitcher for San Diego two years ago, was among 35 players who became free agents when their teams declined to offer them 2017 contracts on Friday.

Washington outfielder Ben Revere and Philadelphia outfielder Cody Asche also were cut loose, along with Arizona catcher Welington Castillo and pitcher Rubby De La Rosa; Baltimore pitcher Vance Worley; and Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Louis Coleman.

Milwaukee first baseman Chris Carter and Pittsburgh pitcher Jeff Locke were non-tendered as well; their teams had already designated them for assignment earlier this week.

Teams cut players at the tender deadline to avoid committing to salary arbitration, in which about one-sixth of next season's salary is guaranteed.

Ross, a 29-year-old right-hander, was 13-14 with a 2.81 ERA in 2014 and 10-12 with a 3.26 ERA the following season. He was limited to one major league appearance this year and had surgery in October for thoracic outlet syndrome. Recovery time was expected to be four to six months, and the Padres deemed him too pricy for arbitration after he earned $9,625,000 this year.

Asche, 26, was designated for assignment earlier Friday to clear a roster spot for left-hander David Rollins, claimed off waivers from Texas. Asche hit .240 with 31 homers and 125 RBIs for the Phillies during 371 games in the past four seasons and would have been eligible for arbitration for the first time.

The 28-year-old Revere was acquired from Toronto in January for reliever Drew Storen but strained his right oblique in his first at-bat of the season, left after four innings and went on the disabled list. Revere returned May 6, hit just .217 with two homers and 24 RBIs in 103 games and would have been on track for a raise from his $6.25 million salary.

Castillo batted .264 with 14 homers and 68 RBIs and would have gotten a big raise from his $3.7 million salary.

Giants tender contracts to all six arbitration-eligible players

Giants tender contracts to all six arbitration-eligible players

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants tendered contracts to all six arbitration-eligible players on Friday, agreeing to one-year contracts with two of them. 

Right-hander Cory Gearrin will get $1.05 million and infielder Ehire Adrianza will receive $600,000, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network. The Giants will exchange figures with George Kontos, Will Smith, Eduardo Nunez and Conor Gillaspie. They traditionally have avoided going to actual arbitration hearings. 

Gearrin, Kontos and Smith will make up a chunk of the bullpen next season, while Nunez is expected to start at third base. Gillaspie, the postseason hero, should see more playing time and Adrianza is currently slated to return in his familiar bench role. 

The day was smoother for the Giants than other NL West teams. The Diamondbacks non-tendered Welington Castillo and Rubby De La Rosa and the Padres later sent mini shockwaves through the market by non-tendering former ace Tyson Ross, who is coming off a season lost to injury. Ross was one of six Padres to be let go, a list that included former Giant Hector Sanchez.