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SAN FRANCISCO – Tim Lincecum had to be carried off the field. Less than an hour later, he walked through the clubhouse without a limp.
Once a physical freak, always a physical freak.
The Giants’ No.4 starter was diagnosed with a contusion that could have been much worse, after he absorbed a line drive from Daric Barton off the inside of his left knee in the fourth inning Friday night. Lincecum went for X-rays that ruled out a fracture or other major structural damage.
“Just a dead leg to the knee,” said Lincecum, who wouldn’t rule out making his scheduled season debut Thursday at Arizona. “We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. Right now, it feels pretty good.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy shared Lincecum’s optimism, saying he’d “guess right now that he’d be OK to start.” But if Lincecum has to alter his delivery because of any pain or swelling the club wouldn’t hesitate to give the ball to Yusmeiro Petit, instead.
Lincecum said he never saw the line drive, which came with the bases loaded in the fourth inning. The right-hander tried to turn his body as he fell off the first base side of the mound. He didn’t try to put weight on it as trainers carried him off the field, but said it felt better once the shock wore off.
“I knew it hit me in a relatively good spot, not in front of the kneecap or anything like that,” Lincecum said. “I feel better now … Right now things are looking positive, at least the way I feel right now.”
Lincecum acknowledged he couldn’t be certain he could start Thursday until he sees how his leg feels when he wakes up on Saturday.
As for his final exhibition start, Lincecum held the A’s to just John Jaso’s solo homer in four innings but also walked three and regretted “not being more competitive” with some of the pitches out of the zone. He said he has been working on an adjustment with his hands, holding them a little further from his body when they break. In the third inning, he found himself skipping that adjustment.
“It’s just getting my hands away from me so my arm doesn’t get caught up in my body,” he said.
At least the Giants recorded an out on Barton’s liner, which came with the bases loaded. Catcher Buster Posey picked up the carom and threw to first base for a close out.