Posey unlikely to catch Lincecum in postseason

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Posey unlikely to catch Lincecum in postseason

SAN DIEGO Tim Lincecumsplace in the Giants postseason rotation remains a mystery. But whenever he happensto take the mound in a playoff game, its becoming clearer that Buster Poseywill not be his catcher.

Giants manager BruceBochy confirmed that Lincecum will start Sunday at San Diego and Hector Sanchezwill catch him.

Lincecumspreference?

My preference,really, Bochy said. I just like the way its gone in the second half.

Lincecum had a 6.42ERA at the All-Star break, but while working almost exclusively with Sanchez,the right-hander went 7-4 with a 3.06 ERA in his first 13 starts after the break.

Lincecum struggled mightilyto repeat his mechanics in his last outing Tuesday against Arizona, when hefailed to retire a batter in the fifth inning. Sanchez struggled as well whileallowing a passed ball and a wild pitch. Bochy called that game a hiccup.

Bochy dropped a fewmore clues to the postseason rotation, saying he plans to keep his starters onregular rest over this final road trip. That would mean Matt Cain, Barry Zitoand Ryan Vogelsong in this weekends series at Dodger Stadium.

Assuming the Giants remainthe No. 3 seed, Cain would be positioned to take the ball on regular rest in ananticipated NLDS Game 1 on Oct. 6. Madison Bumgarner, who will make his finalregular-season start Saturday at Petco Park, would be the most rested of thebunch and remains the likely choice to slot in as the Game 2 starter.

Its possible theGiants will announce Cain and Bumgarner at the outset of the division series andleave the rest of the pitching matchups to be determined, depending on what theGiants do in their first two games. Bochy would have all three options Zito,Lincecum and Vogelsong on the table for Game 3 and a potential Game 4. (WithCain on regular rest in Game 5 in any scenario.)

RELATED: Zito pitching way into Giants' postseason plans

And yes, therotation affects more than the starting pitchers. If Bochy keeps Sanchez pairedwith Zito in addition to Lincecum, that would mean starting Posey at first base and sending either Brandon Belt to left field or the bench.

Belt struggled inthe afternoon sun Sunday when given a look in left field, telling Bochy hesmore comfortable in a night game. Bochy said Belt will start again in left fieldover this final road trip.

Giants use big fifth, sixth innings to take down Cubs

Giants use big fifth, sixth innings to take down Cubs

BOX SCORE

At Scottsdale, Arizona, Giants starter Matt Cain gave up two runs — one earned — and three hits over two innings.

New Giants closer Mark Melancon tossed a 1-2-3 third inning in his first outing. Cain threw 40 pitches and Justin Ruggiano had an RBI double in a three-run fifth.

Javier Baez went 2 for 3 with an RBI double.

Giants spring training Day 13: Cain goes two; Melancon has perfect debut

Giants spring training Day 13: Cain goes two; Melancon has perfect debut

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bruce Bochy planned to give most of his pitchers one-inning stints during the first weekend of spring ball, but Matt Cain stretched it out to 40 pitches on Saturday. 

“I’ve had enough days off the past couple of years,” Cain said, smiling.

In his first start of a crucial spring, Cain threw two innings. He was charged with three hits and two runs, just one of them earned. 

“He’s in a good place right now with his arm strength,” Bochy said. “His delivery is consistent. I’m glad he got a lot of work today, to be honest. It’s something he needs as much as anybody on this staff, is work. He’s going to get it.”

Ty Blach, Cain’s biggest competition for the fifth starter spot, gave up four hits and one earned in his two innings. Neither pitcher was hit particularly hard, and both suffered a bit from iffy defense in the early innings of an 8-6 win over the Cubs. 

The inning separating Cain and Blach was notable for other reasons. Mark Melancon made his Giants debut, getting two groundouts and a fly to right in a quick inning. Melancon received a nice ovation, and he noted the opponent — a Cubs team that helped guarantee the Giants would spend big on a closer — but he didn’t put any added importance on the outing. 

“It doesn’t matter what I do out there right now,” he said. 

Melancon’s new teammates might disagree. Spring or not, the Giants certainly enjoyed watching a closer breeze through his inning. Especially against the Cubs. 

“He’s a pro,” Bochy said. “He’s going to be out there working on stuff, his command and pitches. It was good for Buster (Posey) to catch him. It was a good day for him.”

NOTABLE: On his first swing of the spring, Posey threw his bat up against the visiting dugout. It can only go uphill from there … Bryan Morris had a scoreless debut, striking out one … Josh Osich ran into some trouble in the eighth and gave up a pair of runs, but Bochy appreciated the way he fought his way out of the frame … Former Giants prospect Chris Dominguez started for the Cubs at first base. He had a couple of hits ... If you're headed to Goodyear for tomorrow's game, Joe Panik, Brandon Belt, Conor Gillaspie, Jimmy Rollins, Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker, Gorkys Hernandez and Trevor Brown will start behind Matt Moore. Also, if you're headed to Goodyear, I'm sorry. 

TRAINER’S ROOM: Eduardo Nuñez is limited to DH duty for now because of a sore throwing shoulder. Nuñez said the tightness popped up after some work in the weight room, but he’s not concerned at all. He said he would have played third base if Saturday’s game was a regular season contest. The Giants expect him in the field sometime next week. 

Nuñez also said it took five weeks after the season ended for his hamstring to get back to 100 percent, so apparently that injury was much worse than it first looked. Nuñez was out on the field before every NLDS game, trying to get clearance to return. He never quite got there. 

Will Smith (elbow) is just a day or two from throwing off flat ground, Bochy said. 

CUETO UPDATE: The Giants had hoped to have Johnny Cueto in camp this weekend, but he remains in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. Cueto is waiting for a visa for his ill father, Domingo, who will travel to Scottsdale with Johnny. 

LIGHTER SIDE: Brandon Crawford spent a couple of minutes learning some of Jeff Samardzija’s mound moves. The impersonation is pretty solid.