Giants won't skip Lincecum's turn


Giants won't skip Lincecum's turn

SEATTLE -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy and GM Brian Sabean are considering many options to help Tim Lincecum reclaim his Cy Young form. Skipping his turn in the rotation isn't one of them.

Not yet, anyway.

Even though the Giants have lost nine consecutive Lincecum starts, Bochy said the right-hander would make his next turn Friday at Oakland. The team had the option of skipping him because his next day falls on an off-day Thursday, perhaps giving him an opportunity to step back and throw a few extra times off a bullpen mound andor get an inning out of the bullpen.

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But Lincecum wants the ball on his normal turn. And the Giants will give it to him.

"He's healthy. He feels good," Bochy said. "I know the results haven't been great for Timmy, but you just see too many good signs. Even after the first inning (Saturday), he had bad luck there.

"At this point we think the best thing is to let him fight through this. If we felt different, we'd do it."

Bochy said he was glad to hear Lincecum, after Saturday night's loss, tell reporters that he would fight to stay on his normal turn.

"Sure, sure, that's how you want these guys," Bochy said. "He's doing all he can to come out of this. He's taking it hard. At the same time, he hasn't lost any fight in him."

Bochy said he and Sabean would talk again prior to the game. Lincecum will get an extra day before Friday's start at Oakland, so perhaps he can throw a more extended bullpen session.

"All these things we talk about," Bochy said. "Any time a player is having a tough time, you look for ways that can benefit him the most. That's what we have to come up with."

Lincecum's issues have been most acute out of the stretch, which is particularly puzzling. In the past, Lincecum has pitched from the stretch with the bases empty because he has fewer moving parts and timing mechanisms than from the windup. But that adjustment only goes in one direction. It's not like he can just pitch from the windup with runners on base.

"You're right, exactly right," said Bochy, when told Lincecum usually used the stretch in the past to get back on line. "That's why this is a tough one for all of us, including him. The stuff was good. He was 92 mph into the fifth.

"What we've got to work on, and he knows it, is, Hey, you might give up a run, but let's control the situation.' It's human nature when you're accustomed to success to have self-doubt creep in there versus it's you that controls the situation."

Bochy said he's confident Lincecum won't stop looking for answers.

"He's come out of the stretch. He's gone to an over-the-head windup," Bochy said. "This is a guy who's tried a lot of things on the mound. He's resourceful when he needs to make an adjustment."

In other news, Bochy wanted to get a break for Ryan Theriot and he decided to go with Pablo Sandoval over Brandon Crawford in the No.2 spot. Buster Posey gets a quasi day off at DH. He recalled DHing once before in Toronto in 2010.

The Giants are 6-2 in rubber matches this season. They'll hope Madison Bumgarner can be on his game against Felix Hernandez.

Samardzija's strong outing gets Giants back on winning track


Samardzija's strong outing gets Giants back on winning track


Jeff Samardzija pitched 6 1/3 innings of two-run baseball to help the Giants snap a five-game losing streak.

Giants respond to Melancon report: 'It’s pole vaulting over mouse turds'

Giants respond to Melancon report: 'It’s pole vaulting over mouse turds'

SAN FRANCISCO — As reporters approached Mark Melancon’s locker Monday afternoon, the closer looked up at a clubhouse clock and smiled.

“I guess it’s 3:30,” he said softly. 

A year ago at this time, Giants relievers would have been out in left field jogging and playing catch. The routine was changed a week into the season, and players, coaches and management expressed confusion and frustration Monday about how that became the centerpiece of a FOX Sports article portraying the clubhouse as “boring” and a problem.

The piece, written by Ken Rosenthal and posted Monday morning, said Melancon “rubbed some teammates the wrong way early in the season by putting an end to the bullpen’s 3:30 p.m. stretching session before night games, a practice that the relievers began in 2012.”

Several players mocked the concept as they stretched Monday. Manager Bruce Bochy called it a non-story.

“It’s pole vaulting over mouse turds,” he said. 

Melancon defended the move, saying it was made collectively by the revamped bullpen and staff. He said the Giants decided to be better about time management, noting that it did not make sense for the relievers to run and throw an hour before going back on the field with the rest of the team. The decision was made to instead focus on lifting, eating and doing other clubhouse work in the hours leading up to the 4:30 team stretch. 

“Really it’s nothing — it’s kind of funny it’s been raised,” Melancon said. “I was brought in to be a leader here and take ownership of the bullpen. In conversations with guys and the coaching staff, we decided to change the stretch time. It was the first series of the year, and from a time management standpoint, it’s been good. I’m shocked, but if this is the reason we’re pointing out (for the team’s record), please bring it on.

“We’re talking about stretching. Stretching,” Melancon added, joking he felt like Allen Iverson. 

The story also mentioned Melancon’s routine of spending the first six or seven innings in the clubhouse preparing to pitch. Melancon said he is usually in the bullpen by the fifth or sixth, and noted that that’s been the way of all closers he has worked under, from Mariano Rivera to Jonathan Papelbon. 

“I don’t know anyone who has had a problem with (my routine),” he said. 

His manager certainly doesn’t. Bochy said every closer he has managed did the same thing because they almost never pitch until the ninth. Of course, that’s where the real problem comes. Melancon has a 4.58 ERA and has blown four saves. He said that should have been the focus of any story about the Giants’ struggles. 

“I understand if you lose this many games there’s got to be something to blame, and I’ll take this blame on,” he said. “I haven’t pitched well … There are a lot of things I can be better at with my performance on the field, and that’s first and foremost.”

The Giants expected a bit more on the mound, and Melancon knows it. He owns that part of this. But they have no complaints, sources said, about anything he has done off the field. Several teammates noted Monday that Melancon has also been pitching hurt for a team that’s hopelessly buried in the standings. Melancon also had team employees remodel a small room behind the dugout — adding new seats, a flat screen TV, and inspirational quotes — so relievers were more comfortable while waiting to pitch.

Those are small changes, with nothing to do with how the team has played. And given the way the bullpen pitched last year, any change probably should have been welcomed.