Lincecum fans seven White Sox in Giants' 5-3 win


Lincecum fans seven White Sox in Giants' 5-3 win

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) That extra month of work at the end of last season helped Tim Lincecum stay in shape and keep his work ethic intact through a shorter winter - and it's already showing.The San Francisco Giants' ace struck out seven batters over 5 1-3 innings Wednesday to help the reigning World Series champions beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3.Lincecum allowed one run on three hits and walked three batters. He was pulled in the sixth by manager Bruce Bochy after surrendering a one-out walk to Alex Rios."I was hitting spots better than I had in past years, so that's a positive I can take away from this," he said. "Knowing that I only had three months to get back into shape in the offseason presses you to want to come out and repeat and do as well as you did last year."The only trouble Lincecum found was in the second inning, when he gave up a leadoff single to Paul Konerko, followed by an RBI-triple off the bat of Rios. Still, with a runner on third and nobody out, Lincecum retired the next three batters without letting Rios score."The key to me is to get in a good tempo, good rhythm from beginning to end," Lincecum said. "I haven't felt this good all spring, or in any year for that matter."Lincecum earned the win thanks to ample support from his offense, but the production came from an unexpected source, the bottom of the San Francisco lineup.The six through nine hitters in the Giants' lineup accounted for 10 of the team's 15 hits and drove in all five runs.Brandon Belt led the charge with three hits and three runs scored. He hit a solo home run in the sixth and doubled in another run in the seventh. Nate Schierholtz added three singles and an RBI for the Giants.Mark Buehrle showed vast improvement from his two previous starts for Chicago. He scattered seven hits in five innings, allowing just one run while striking out three. He had allowed eight runs in his last six innings pitched."It's a positive thing for him," manager Ozzie Guillen said of his Opening-Day starter. "He needed an outing like this in spring training before we break camp."Brent Lillibridge hit a two-run homer in the seventh for the White Sox, who went hitless in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position.Notes: Buehrle picked Belt off of first base in the second inning, his first pickoff of the spring. ... The announced attendance of 10,074 was the third-highest of the spring at Camelback Ranch. "They weren't here to see Mark Buehrle and the White Sox," Guillen joked. ... Lincecum said he weighs 168 pounds, up about 11 pounds from when he reported to camp.

49ers GM Lynch speaks with Harbaugh about Michigan prospects

49ers GM Lynch speaks with Harbaugh about Michigan prospects

PHOENIX – John Lynch’s draft preparation as a first-year NFL general manager prompted him to make a phone call Monday to Jim Harbaugh.

“I talked to an old 49ers coach yesterday,” Lynch said at the NFL owners meetings. “He was great. He has a lot of players who are draftable. (He) gave me a lot of great information, and it was entertaining, as it always is with Jim.

“He just said, ‘Fired up for you, man,’ then we started talking about his players. He had to go to a meeting and I had to go to a meeting, so it was quick.”

Before Lynch could quiz Harbaugh about some of the Wolverines’ draft-eligible prospects, Harbaugh had a brief chance to catch up with his brother, John, the Baltimore Ravens head coach.

“It was fun because right when we called, his brother was right there,” Lynch said.

“So John came over and before I could get on the phone, John and Jim were talking. I said, ‘Hey, you’re cutting into my time, give me the phone.’ We had a good time.”

Michigan’s top prospects are safety Jabrill Peppers, who won the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most-versatile player, and edge rusher Taco Charlton.

Lynch said he does not ask “lazy questions” of any college coach about his former players. Instead, he’s looking at specifics, such as what position a player is better suited to play at the NFL level.

Harbaugh, who was let go after the 49ers' 8-8 season of 2014, enters his third season at his alma mater after two seasons with 10-3 records.

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

PHOENIX – Fans won’t see special teams players leaping over the long snapper in an attempt to block a field goal or extra point. Seattle’s Kam Chancellor made some big plays with that technique, but won’t have the chance anymore.

The NFL outlawed that option on Tuesday as one several rule changes enacted at the league meetings.

“There are some safety concerns,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “that are legitimate.”

The NFL also centralized replay reviews, taking that power away from officials on the field. NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino and associates at the NFL’s command center will handle reviews in an effort to add consistency to important calls.

Del Rio hoped replay challenges would be expanded further, but a proposal by Seattle and Buffalo allowing coaches to challenge any play save scoring plays and turnovers, which are automatically reviewed, did not pass.

“I think there are a number of coaches who feel like, if there’s an obvious error, we should have a mechanism to correct it,” Del Rio said. “We catch most of them, so you’re talking about a small percentage. It’s hard to move the needle for such a small percentage. That’s the problem. The fact is, if it’s important enough that we’re willing to use that challenge, we’d like that right and ability. Things happen, and you don’t want to lose a big game, a game that decides whether you advance in the playoffs or make the playoffs and it’s something you could overturn, that you could challenge or change. Why not?”

Here's a list of new rules and bylaws adopted by the league on Tuesday.