Lincecum avoids Rockies, faces minor leaguers


Lincecum avoids Rockies, faces minor leaguers

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Dave Righetti must care a lot abouthis pitching staff. He lays awake at night thinking about them.

The Giants longtime pitching coach sent a text messageto Tim Lincecum at 12:34 a.m. Wednesday night, letting him know of a change inplans for his next start. Instead of facing the Colorado Rockies at Salt RiverFields Thursday night, Lincecum threw 91 pitches in a Single-A game at theGiants minor league complex.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner worked on his fastballcommand and pitched into the sixth inning while giving up four runs at IndianSchool Park. The change of plans was designed to give him a controlledenvironment to build his pitch count and also avoid facing the Rockies, whomhell face in his second start of the regular season.

It didnt seem fair when Lincecum threw one of his lethalchangeups to dust off an Angels minor leaguer with No. 0 on his jersey.

I know theyre not going to feel bad if they get a hitoff of me, so I dont feel bad either, a smiling Lincecum said. Its adifferent kind of atmosphere. You kind of get back to the roots, when you weregrowing up and you just came out and played for fun and the love of the game.Not that its any different now, but its just a different atmosphere and I hada lot of fun with it.

The ticket holders for Thursday nights exhibitionprobably have a different view. Theyll watch left-hander Brian Burres insteadof Lincecum.

Lincecum said his fastball command wasnt where he wantsit; too many pitches were at the belt instead of the knees. But hes confidenthis curveball and changeup are ready for April 6, when hell start on openingday at Arizonas Chase Field.

Its Lincecums fourth Opening Day assignment. This onecomes against the defending NL West champions the team that beat him in hisfinal regular-season start in September to leave him with a 13-14 record.

Lincecum said he still gets pumped up for the Opening Dayhonor, especially this time.

Its going to be a big game because weve got a little bitof a remembrance of where we were last year, and they were able to celebrate infront of us, Lincecum said. So Im sure a lot of people are itching to getback out there and go start the battle over again. Hopefully itll be in ourfavor this time.

Will Lincecum watch the banner-raising ceremony?

Uhhmmm, he said, Im indifferent to it.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy denied that he and Righettiwere playing keepaway from the Rockies. But Lincecum said he preferred not toface them.

You try to avoid that right before the season so guysdont get a knack for you and you dont get stupid things going through yourhead, he said.

Like what?

Like are these guys on me? he said. You questionyourself sometimes in the spring. The first outing I had against them wasabsolutely terrible. Its a new slate when the season starts. Its easier to dothat when I dont have to face them right before the season.

Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate


Familiar faces trying to find success, health with Giants' Triple-A affiliate

SACRAMENTO -- A young man named Clayton Blackburn walked into the home clubhouse at Raley Field on Tuesday decked out in Round Rock gear. 

"You're here for my start?" he said, smiling.

Sorry, Clayton, I was on Panda Watch for two days. But it was fun watching Blackburn, DFA’d in a weird move earlier this year, face former teammates. Blackburn hasn't had a great season with Texas, but he is still just 24 and he has gotten into terrific shape. Given what happened during his call-up last year, you should root for him to get a second chance. 

Blackburn gave up three runs over six innings against his former team. The River Cats won on Jarrett Parker’s walk-off homer to dead center with two outs in the ninth. Parker was one of many familiar faces in the lineup Tuesday. Here are some thoughts on guys you know, and guys you will: 

--- Trevor Brown is the backup catcher in Sacramento, which is certainly a fall from his run as Buster Posey's backup. Brown is batting .168 in what has been a very frustrating season for him. The groin injury that slowed him early lingered, he had a concussion, and he hasn't been able to find any BABIP luck. This year seems a lost one for a guy who was a big part of 2016. I’m still intrigued by his versatility.

--- Chris Shaw is the latest podcast guest. You can stream it here. We talked about his power, his move to left, thinking he was a Ray, and more. I didn't see many at-bats, but I saw enough in left field to be confident he'll be fine out there. 

--- Parker started in center field and made a nice running catch at the wall. He wouldn't hold up as a big league center fielder, but perhaps the Giants should throw him out there a few times down the stretch to see if he can be a backup option next season. Parker said he finally found his swing over the past few games. His rehab assignment ends in about a week, and he’s expected back in San Francisco. 

--- Reyes Moronta, who spent a day in the majors in May, was promoted to Triple-A. In his first inning, Drew Stubbs took him deep. I found that quirky. It's been a long season with far too many transactions. 

--- If Steven Duggar would stay healthy, he would probably make it up to SF in September. Unfortunately, his hamstring was tight again this week, keeping him out of San Jose’s lineup for a few days. Speaking of health: Tyler Beede’s groin injury will keep him out longer than just the standard DL time … Melvin Upton Jr. is still in Sacramento rehabbing a shoulder injury, but he’s not throwing yet so it’s hard to picture him making any noise before September call-up time …Christian Arroyo is in Arizona rehabbing from hand surgery. 

--- Derek Law was smiling because Derek Law is always smiling. He has a 4.32 ERA but said he feels much better than those results. “My slider is back,” Law said. He should be, too, when the Giants expand their roster. There are some other interesting relievers in Sacramento. A first baseman told me opposing hitters grumble about facing D.J. Snelten (1.84 ERA) and Tyler Rogers has a 1.94 ERA as a dirt-scraping right-hander. 

--- A teammate predicted Carlos Moncrief would hit .270 in the big leagues if called up, and he ended up getting that call Wednesday morning. Moncrief is a fun clubhouse addition. He gave Sandoval some good-natured heckling for talking to reporters after going 1 for 4. 

--- The Giants have had a lot of veterans visit San Jose this season. They all bought the postgame spread, but word around the block is that Madison Bumgarner provided the best meal. He had steak and lobster delivered to San Jose Muni. 

Eduardo Nunez 'forever grateful' for his time spent with the Giants

Eduardo Nunez 'forever grateful' for his time spent with the Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Eduardo Nuñez left San Francisco in a strange way. The third baseman was traded in the middle of Tuesday night’s game and mostly said his goodbyes in a stairwell behind the home dugout at AT&T Park. Before joining the Red Sox, Nuñez took to his social media pages to send a message to the Giants and their fans. 

On Twitter, Nuñez thanked the organization for “the great opportunity and experiences learned” and wished the team the best of luck. His Instagram message was a bit longer. 

“I will be forever grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this amazing team,” Nuñez wrote. “I value the experiences learned during my time here and I will miss my teammates, the fans, and the beautiful city of San Francisco very much. Best wishes to the Giants organization during the rest of this season. God Bless.”

Nuñez is expected to join the Red Sox on Friday. Boston’s manager, John Farrell, told reporters that his new infielder will get “a high number of at-bats” despite the presence of top prospect Rafael Devers. 

"This is someone who's swinging the bat very well right now,” Farrell said, according to "A high energy player that can run the bases well. He’s got really good line drive power so his .300-plus batting average to mix into this lineup is a good addition."