Lincecum throws 41 pitches in return to the mound


Lincecum throws 41 pitches in return to the mound

SAN FRANCISCO — Tim Lincecum, wearing baggy shorts and a Team USA soccer shirt, bent over and picked up an orange Nike shoe box after his 41st pitch of a showcase at Scottsdale Stadium. He smiled as he walked off the field.

“No hitters got any hits, so that’s always positive,” he joked in an interview with CSN Bay Area a few minutes later. 

Lincecum is as free-spirited and relaxed as ever, and now teams will have to decide if he’s the same pitcher he used to be. The right-hander threw for more than 20 teams who came to see if the two-time Cy Young Award winner is back. The Giants were there, represented by assistant general manager Jeremy Shelley and others, but there was no need for the contingent to be bigger. 

Dick Tidrow, the organization’s pitching guru, and general manager Bobby Evans watched Lincecum privately 10 days ago. They have a pretty good idea of where he’s at and what kind of fit there is. Lincecum told CSN Bay Area’s Shawn Estes that the next step is meeting with his agent, Rick Thurman of Beverly Hill Sports Council.

“I’ll kind of get an idea of what’s going on and what people are saying and what people are looking for and which teams are looking for a guy like myself,” Lincecum said. “I’ll hopefully make a decision in the near future. This isn’t familiar territory for me, so I’ll probably get a little bit of help from (my agent) with what he thinks I should do.”

Lincecum said he would entertain all options, including starting out as a long reliever, but he still has a clear preference on what he wants to do. He feels he could step into a Triple-A rotation right now and throw five or six innings on his way back to the big leagues. 

“I think I know there are other teams (besides the Giants) out there that are looking for starters right now and I wouldn’t have to go to Triple-A and have to work my way behind somebody,” Lincecum said. “To be honest with you I’d rather start, but I know I need to get timing with others hitters in the box and work my way through it that way. 

“We’ll come to a decision here in the near future but I haven’t decided what’s the most important (thing) to me right now.”

Lincecum’s fastball was 90 to 92 with good life during his two innings in front of scouts Friday. Last season he topped out at 90.4 with an average of 87.5, and any team that signs Lincecum would surely expect the velocity to tick up a tiny bit when the adrenaline of a big league game kicks in.

Lincecum threw all his pitches, and his curveball appeared especially sharp. It is a pitch that his father, Chris, says looks better than it has in years. Scouts in attendance said Lincecum also repeated his complicated delivery well. 

“If anything I’ve simplified it a little bit with the new hip being able to stabilize my landing, which is a big part of what controls your hand and where the pitch is going to go,” Lincecum said. “It just feels more consistent … I’m not searching for that extra gear to try and throw harder anymore.”

Chris said he was “quite pleased, and so was everyone in the Lincecum camp.”

Lincecum has been working out in Arizona all winter in a bid to resume his career after September hip surgery. Friday’s showcase was originally supposed to take place in January or February, but it was repeatedly pushed back as Lincecum tried to get all the way back to 100 percent. The biggest takeaway for the Giants who watched the live stream Friday afternoon -- and there were many of them -- was that Lincecum looked healthy, something that thrilled the clubhouse. 

“I watched Timmy throw — he looked healthy and athletic,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s hard to tell from our view and what we have, but he did look healthy.”

The Giants do currently have five healthy starters, although only three have been effective. While team officials said Friday that they continue to view Lincecum as a reliever, patience is wearing thin with Jake Peavy and Matt Cain, who have combined to give up 56 earned runs in 60 innings.

The Giants have not tipped their hand, and neither has Lincecum. But no matter where he ends up, the Giants will be watching closely. 

“Regardless of what happens you’re going to root for Tim Lincecum,” Bochy said. “Nobody loves him more than I do.”

Unhappy Buster Posey bashes Phillies closer after hit-by-pitch

Unhappy Buster Posey bashes Phillies closer after hit-by-pitch

In what was set up to be a pivotal matchup of the game turned into a heated exchange.

Buster Posey stepped into the batter's box in the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday against Phillies closer Hector Neris.

But Posey never got to swing the bat. On the first pitch, Neris drilled the Giants catcher in the ribs with a 95 MPH fastball.

Posey whinced in pain and as he walked to first base, he appeared to ask Neris if the pitch was on purpose.

After the game, Posey was asked about the kerfuffle.

"I'm pretty certain he hit me on purpose. And it's just a shame because I wanted to compete that at-bat and he's got good stuff. But I guess he didn't feel like he couldn't get me out," Posey told reporters after the game.

Posey was asked if he could think of any incidents in previous games against the Phillies that could have led to the hit-by-pitch. He said no and asked the reporters if they could think of anything.

Posey's comments were brought to Neris after the game.

"It's stupid because nobody who watched that said, 'Oh he hit him on purpose in that situation,'" Neris told reporters, according to the Philly Inquirer.

Posey and Neris have faced each other just one time in the past. In the ninth inning of the June 3 matchup in Philadelphia, Posey flew out to left field.

Strickland hammered by Phils, Giants officially eliminated from NL West contention

Strickland hammered by Phils, Giants officially eliminated from NL West contention


SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner pitched six innings in one of his best starts this season, took a line drive off his left shin and hit an RBI single that temporarily gave the Giants an early lead.

The reward? A heaping of praise from manager Bruce Bochy, handshakes from his teammates and another no-decision - Bumgarner's third in eight starts since coming off the disabled list.

Philadelphia rookie Rhys Hoskins homered again, Pedro Florimon contributed with his bat and arm, and the Phillies scored three runs in the eighth to beat the Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

In what has been a theme for San Francisco much of the season, Bumgarner's efforts were overshadowed by another meltdown from the Giants' bullpen.

"I thought it was a good day for Madison," Bochy said. "We had it lined up like we wanted as far as the bullpen. (Hunter Strickland) just had an off day making some mistakes."

Bumgarner allowed one run and four hits. He stayed in despite taking a sharp line drive off his left shin in the second inning by Nick Williams - earlier this month, Williams hit Mets ace Jacob deGrom in the triceps with a line drive, forcing him from the game.

"I tried to do a kick save but I wasn't very good at soccer," Bumgarner said. "It almost worked out."

Hoskins connected for a solo drive in the ninth inning, making him the first Phillies player in at least 100 years to hit five home runs in his first 11 major league games.

"I got to better counts, I think this week, and the results show," Hoskins said.

Florimon hit a two-run single off Strickland (2-3) to cap a three-run eighth inning that made it 4-2. Florimon also had an RBI double off Bumgarner in the second, then made a sparkling defensive play in left field to throw out Buster Posey at the plate in the bottom of the inning.

It was Florimon's first major league game in left field.

"I just try to catch the ball and throw the ball to home plate and see what happens," Florimon said. "I made a good throw."

Adam Morgan (2-1) retired three batters for the win, a day after throwing just one pitch and getting the victory.

Hector Neris pitched 1 1/3 innings for his 15th save. He struck out Pablo Sandoval with the bases loaded to end the eighth after hitting Posey in the back with a pitch, then fanned Denard Span with two on in the ninth to end it.

The Phillies won the season series against the Giants for the first time since 2011.

Philadelphia trailed 2-1 going into the eighth. Hoskins and Maikel Franco hit consecutive one-out singles before Jorge Alfaro tied it with an RBI single. After Williams singled to load the bases, Florimon slapped a 1-2 pitch into right field.

Posey had two hits and an RBI, extending his hitting streak against the Phillies to 22 games. Kelby Tomlinson scored a run and Ryder Jones doubled and scored for San Francisco.

Posey had a rough afternoon physically. In addition to taking a 95 mph fastball in the back, Posey also appeared to get hurt while tagging out a sliding Cameron Perkins at the plate in the second.

Afterward, the Giants' All-Star catcher voiced his displeasure about Neris.

"I'm certain that he hit me on purpose," Posey said. "It's just a shame because I wanted to compete that at-bat and he's got good stuff. But I guess he didn't feel like he could get me out."

Giants 2B Joe Panik (concussion symptoms) continues to make steady progress and could come off the disabled list in time to join San Francisco on its upcoming road trip that begins Friday in Arizona.

Phillies: The team gets an off day before hosting Miami in a doubleheader Tuesday. RHP Dan Straily (7-8, 3.80 ERA) pitches in the first game and RHP Jose Urena (11-5, 3.61 ERA) goes in the nightcap.

Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (1-2, 4.91) faces Milwaukee on Monday.