Lincecum won't 'be the guy who throws a tantrum'

908415.jpg

Lincecum won't 'be the guy who throws a tantrum'

SAN FRANCISCO It wasnt easy for Giants manager BruceBochy to tell Tim Lincecum that he wouldnt be a part of the starting rotationfor the NL Division Series.

RELATED: Vogelsong, not Lincecum will start Game 3

It wasnt easy for Lincecum to hear it, either.

Then again, nothing has been easy this season for theGiants two-time Cy Young Award winner. He traveled a dark and dreary roadwhile going 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA. He wasn't in command of his mechanics or his pitches.

Now, publicly, hes taking the high road. That much he can control.

Im not going to be the guy who throws a tantrum becauseIm not getting what I want or Im not getting what I think I deserve orwhatnot, said Lincecum, who stopped to talk to reporters prior to Game 2 onSunday. Its not about that. Right now its about the team and its aboutwinning. This is not about stats. Its not about individual rewards. Its aboutthe team.

Oh, but the decision was about stats. Remove the names andlook at just the pure numbers. Lincecum easily was the Giants fifth-beststarter this season. The club went 2-8 in his first 10 starts and he needed amuch-improved second half just to reach double-digit victories.
RATTO: All signs point to Lincecum not starting in NLDS

It wasnt enough of a second-half rebound for Bochy to letLincecums past trump Ryan Vogelsongs present-day stuff.

Earlier in the day, Bochy insisted Lincecum was on board with the decision tostart Vogelsong in Game 3. After batting practice, Lincecum didnt offer any spoken evidence to thecontrary.

I dont make up the lineup and yeah, as much as Id like tostart, I dont make that say, said Lincecum, stopped in a stairwell on his way back to the clubhouse. Hes the one making thedecisions and thats what hes there for and Im all for it. Any position I canbe in to help the team, whether thats coming out of the bullpen or making along relief appearance or anything, or starting on whichever day, it reallydoesnt matter to me. I just want to help my team.

"I kind of understood it a little more than you would expectjust because I understand the way Ive been going right now. My last twostarts werent that great and other guys had more success coming into thisseries than I have.

Its more of an open mindset. Its ,If Im starting Imstarting, and if Im in the bullpen, I know the reasons why. Its aboutearning it and its not about what youve done. Its about what youve donelately, and my last two starts werent very good.

Lincecum confirmed he hadnt been told to prepare for apotential Game 4 start; the Giants are expected to name Barry Zito, althoughMatt Cain will be an option on short rest.

Lincecum said he hadnt been told any plans beyond the NLDivision Series, either, should the Giants advance. But if the Giants other startersstruggle enough to open the door for Lincecum, that means the team probably wouldntget past the Cincinnati Reds, anyway.

Lincecum started and relieved at the University ofWashington and made one relief appearance in Game 6 of the 2010 NLCS at Philadelphia, where hestruck out Jayson Werth in the eighth inning and gave up singles to Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez.Brian Wilson took over and got lucky when Carlos Ruiz lined into a double playas the Giants went on to clinch the NL pennant.

Lincecum has made one regular-season relief appearance, althoughthat came in a 2008 game at Dodger Stadium when there was the threat of rain;Bochy, anticipating a long delay in the middle of the game, decided to startreliever Guillermo Mota and brought in Lincecum to begin the third inning.

Lincecum said he hadnt forgotten his fireman days fromcollege.

Its easy to kind of ride on that adrenaline when you hearyour name, Lincecum said. It happened to me in the NLCS in 2010. That littlebit of experience should help me. I feel like I should be all right if I takemy time out there and approach it like its any other inning. College or not,Ive still done it.

Lincecum did not take any issue with the decision to startVogelsong in Game 3, even though the 35-year-old journeyman and 2011 All-Star had his own struggles in August andSeptember before rebounding with three solid outings to end the season.

Hes been through a grind his whole life so for him to comeout and throw two great seasons up like he has this year and last year spokevolumes to what hes about and what hes committed to, Lincecum said. You cansee the intensity in his face that this is what hes about.

I think hes just been waiting for this moment to get thechance to do that and I think hes going to step up.

Two years ago, it was Zito who got bypassed. The left-hander wasnt onany of the three postseason rosters, yet kept throwing to stay ready. Did Lincecum seek any counsel from Zito onhow to handle Bochys decision?

I wouldnt say its like, Hey Barry, can you help me outhere? Lincecum said. Things get brought up at times. Were human beings andwe have emotions and were going to help each other because were teammates andweve been through a lot together.

Whats next for Lincecum, who turned down overtures for along-term contract last winter to sign a two-year deal that takes him up tofree agency? How will a decision like this impact his preparation, hisreadinesshis future?

Thats going to be something Ill go over with myself and obviouslywith my father (Chris) and whoever I think is going to be there to help meimmediately in the offseason, Lincecum said. So right now Im just working onwhat I need to be out of the bullpen with what I have."

Giants spring training Day 6: Bochy looks for improvement on bases

Giants spring training Day 6: Bochy looks for improvement on bases

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Giants always put together a long list of potential minor league free agents as the offseason approaches and they tend to go hard after two or three players from that group. One of the guys who got the hard sell over the winter was speedy outfielder Wynton Bernard, and the Giants were attractive for reasons beyond the departures of Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco.

“I thought it was a good opportunity, and it also was a good fit for me because I’m from California,” Bernard said. 

Bernard is technically from Padres territory, but that gives him a connection to one of the men he’s hoping to impress. When Bernard was playing for Rancho Bernardo High, he often went up against a Poway High team that included a young Brett Bochy. Bruce never saw Bernard play because his job kept him away from most of Brett’s games, but he should see plenty of the 26-year-old this spring as the Giants look for a needed speed dimension. 

A big part of the staff overhaul was about making sure the Giants fare better on the bases. Roberto Kelly and Billy Hayes are out and Phil Nevin and Jose Alguacil are in. The Giants stole 79 bases last season, ranking eighth in the National League, and it’s not like they made up for the lack of small-ball by hitting the ball out of the park. Advanced metrics — tracked externally and also by the Giants — showed an inability to make an impact on the bases. According to BsR, an all-encompassing metric tracked by FanGraphs, the Giants were below average, ranking 17th in the majors. 

“We just want to be smarter baserunners,” Bochy said. “You always want to be aggressive. Everyone has the same philosophy — run hard — but it’s the old adage ‘strong to compete, smart to win.’”

A full season of Eduardo Nuñez will help, as would 162 games of Hunter Pence — who tends to make things happen on his own — and Joe Panik, one of the team’s smartest runners. Jimmy Rollins could provide speed off the bench, and Bernard hopes to make himself a viable option in the outfield. He stole 23 bags in 28 attempts last season for the Tigers’ Double-A and Triple-A teams and he stole 88 total bases the two seasons before 2016. 

The Giants know the kind of potential Bernard has, so early in the offseason he got a call telling him to hook up with fellow San Diego resident Vince Coleman, a legendary baserunner who would be joining the staff. The two worked out often in advance of spring training. 

“The Giants said he was in the area and I called him 20 minutes later,” Bernard said. “I feel like I can add a different dynamic with my speed.”

Bernard can play all three outfield spots and he sports a .360 on-base percentage in the minors. He’s likely ticketed for Triple-A for now, but a player with the same profile showed up in camp in 2012, and it wasn’t long before Gregor Blanco had locked up a roster spot. 

Whether Bernard is part of the mix, or it’s a Gorkys Hernandez or Nuñez or Kelby Tomlinson, Bochy knows he needs a little more athleticism and baserunning savvy in a division where the games are often won by one run. 

“We probably made more mistakes than we should have last year,” he said. “The numbers show it.”

CUETO UPDATE: The co-ace remains in the Dominican Republic, where he is tending to his father. The Giants don’t have a timetable for Cueto’s arrival, but he didn’t miss anything Saturday. The workout was banged because of rain. 

Cueto is at a hotel a few minutes from the club’s Santo Domingo facility and he has been working out there. The hope is that Cueto’s father soon gets well enough to travel to Arizona, where Cueto can continue to take care of him. 

NEW FACE: Slade Heathcott, a former Yankee, signed a minor league deal with the Giants on Friday. He will be in minor league camp this spring, not big league camp. The Giants liked his athleticism. 

QUOTABLE: “You can always look back, study it, learn from it … the second half, I think for everybody, you learn from it. Did we drop our guard? Hopefully it wasn’t complacency, which lets you think you have a bigger margin for error. Hopefully you learn from it.” — Bochy, when asked about the lesson learned last season. 

Report: Giants sign former Yankees top OF prospect Slade Heathcott

Report: Giants sign former Yankees top OF prospect Slade Heathcott

The Giants reportedly added to their outfield competition by signing former Yankees top prospect and 2009 first-round draft pick, outfielder Slade Heathcott. 

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports was first to report the news

Heathcott, 26, has only appeared in 17 MLB games, all in the 2015 season for the Yankees. In his short promotion, the lefty batted .400 (10-for-25) with two home runs and two doubles. 

Through multiple stints in the minors, Heathcott has slashed .266/.343/.390 with 26 home runs for his career. 

San Francisco reportedly signed Heathcott to a minor league deal with a big league invite for spring training.