SEATTLE Tim Lincecum is on his home turf this weekend.Hell have to defend much more than that when he takes the mound Saturday.
And hes fully aware of it.
I need to make my stand, do something, show people Imstill worth keeping in a rotation, Lincecum said. So hopefully this is aspringboard. Right now, I feel good.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner and Seattle native, comes home on a careerlow. He
is 2-7 with a 6.00 ERA that ranks 119th out of 122 majorleague pitchers to make at least 10 starts. The Giants are 0-8 in his lasteight starts.
Its an odd moment for Lincecum to take the moundat Safeco Field for the first time. Will it be a net positive to be home? Orwill it be one more distraction he doesnt need?
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I feel like its tilting in my favor, said Lincecum, whowon the Golden Spikes Award when he led the nation in strikeouts at theUniversity of Washington. I dont feel its a negative at all. I feel likethis is a comfort zone for me.
Im a homebody. Im not saying this is where I need to beto pitch, but you can take a break from whats been going on, come back hereand get a different perspective on things. See family, see friends, and justkind of take the edge off, give yourself the benefit of the doubt the next timeout and just go out there with a level head. Im definitely looking forward toit.
Lincecum hopes to control more than a level head. Hes alsoworking to incorporate mechanical tweaks as suggested by pitching coach DaveRighetti, including quieting his hands and eliminating unnecessary movement.The changes are designed to give him more consistent command, especially of hisfastball.
Thats why I used to go to the stretch -- to have lessmoving parts, to simplify things, Lincecum said. Thats kind of the directionIm going in. You guys can see it. The repetition is not there. Ive got toget that muscle memory back where Im throwing everything out of the same slot.Thats what people used to say about me. It came out in the same slot, the samehand.
Lincecum said he is not soliciting pitching advice from hisfather, Chris, who had been his coach his whole life and worked to develop thegymnastic mechanics that allowed him to generate such power from his smallishframe.
I think our relationship more has become about life, saidLincecum, who spent Thursday night at home with his dad. Back in the day hewas my coach and teacher and getting me prepared for this life. Now Im on myown and hes had to let go the last couple years.
We talk to each other. Not as much as people would think,but were still as close as we could be. Thats the thing. Were so much alikethat we can butt heads on things. Were both stubborn and we know that. We canget to bickering and we know the cycle. We know how its gonna go.
It is great to see him. Last night when I went over Ialways manage to piss him off with a smart-ass comment I make or something whenits like, Hey arent you just like happy to see me? My dad takes it toanother level. Thats just our relationship.
And Righetti? Theres a fair amount of head-butting thatgoes on there, too, right?
Its a very similar relationship, Lincecum said. My dadsmy dad obviously and Rags is like a second cousin to him.
Lincecum had an enjoyable 28th birthday onFriday. A group of more than 100 Giants fans even sang Happy Birthday to himas the team stretched on the field. There were plenty of Beatlesesque shrieks,too.
Lincecum got to meet his newborn niece for the first time.He also got to sleep in his own bed; he owns a condo near downtown, where helives in the offseason.
Lincecum said he hasnt thrown off a mound at Safeco Fieldin his life, other than a bullpen session when the Giants played their lastinterleague series here in 2009. The Huskies never scrimmaged or played a gamehere when he was in college. Lincecum didnt participate in any predraftworkouts here, either.
The draft remains a sore spot for the locals, who haventforgotten that the Mariners then-GM Bill Bavasi and scouting director BobFontaine Jr. took Cal pitcher Brandon Morrow when Lincecum was still on theboard. The Giants grabbed Lincecum when he was available with the 10thoverall pick.
Lincecum said hes let go of any miffed feelings he mighthave had.
Not at all, he said. I mean, I was completely contentwhen it happened that day. I was on the golf course when it happened and thatwas one of the best days of my life.