Bay Area Baseball

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March 28, 2013
Lincecum says he's ready for the season; Sandoval progresses

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum was in control for the first three innings against the A's on Thursday night. He allowed only one hit -- a broken-bat single by Jed Lowrie -- while striking out four. That included blowing a letter-high 92 mph fastball past Yoenis Céspedes to end the first inning.

In the fourth, Lincecum left a changeup up that Céspedes crushed to left for a two-run homer. He then allowed consecutive singles to start the fifth and, after recording two outs, walked Lowrie after getting him into an 0-2 count.

It was Lincecum's final hitter. His outing -- and his spring -- ended after 81 pitches that didn't get him out of the fifth inning. When Jeremy Affeldt promptly allowed a three-run home run to Josh Reddick, it finalized Lincecum's line of five runs allowed on five hits in 4 2/3 innings -- and cemented his spring ERA of 10.57.

Lincecum's next scheduled start is Wednesday against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Spring numbers notwithstanding, he said, he'll be ready.

"I feel like my stuff's there," Lincecum said. "Definitely have confidence in all of it."

Lincecum struck out six in the Giants' 7-3 loss to the A's. He threw several good changeups aside from the one Céspedes hit and said he may have gotten a little too "changeup-happy" as the outing went on.

"I thought overall he threw well," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I was pleased with Timmy's outing. He should be. He had good stuff, commanded the ball well. He made a couple mistakes. Again he's a little bit behind with the blister he had this spring and I thought this was a good game for him to build on before he throws his first game in L.A."

The blister limited Lincecum's spring to five outings. He didn't complete five innings once, but Bochy said he isn't concerned about Lincecum's stamina. Bochy said before the game he would be looking for whether Lincecum could stay consistent with his mechanics and that for the most part the right-hander did so.

"He was in sync," Bochy said. "I thought he was under control and was really consistent with his delivery. Occasionally he got a little quick, like all pitchers, but he did a good job."

Lincecum reiterated that he doesn't put too much weight into spring numbers. Asked to evaluate his spring, he said: "I wish I would've gotten out there more. But I think we're at the point where you kind of put that to the wayside and just try to compete out there and get outs."

Getting back into the regular-season atmosphere of AT&T Park, he said, provided an adrenaline rush. That much is promising, as it's all real from here on out.

* Third baseman Pablo Sandoval (sore elbow) took batting practice and ground balls before Thursday's game and could still be ready for Opening Day. For that to happen, though, Sandoval likely needs to face live pitching this weekend, Bochy said.

Sandoval appeared OK after working out Thursday, Bochy said, but the Giants will wait until Friday to decide whether he'll play against the A's. Another option is sending him to extended spring training to get at-bats. The Giants could then fly Sandoval from Arizona to L.A. by Monday.

"He's a little rusty (hitting) from the left side, but he's pain-free, which is important for him and us," Bochy said. "We can pretty much let him go, I think, if he shows up tomorrow and he feels fine."

Bochy said the Giants won't push Sandoval if they don't feel he's ready for the opening series, since his health for the long haul is more important. But the hope is that he'll be in the lineup Monday.

* Tomorrow's main story will be on the contract extensions announced Thursday for Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean. Both received extensions through 2016, effectively adding two years to their respective deals. The Giants had already exercised options for 2014 on both during the winter meetings in December.

President and CEO Larry Baer said the team had planned on the extensions all along but were crunched for time after the postseason. He said there was "a lot of incentive" to get the deals done before Opening Day so Bochy and Sabean wouldn't have to think about it during the season.

"The glory days of the franchise are now," Baer said. "And I think it's important to acknowledge that and pay tribute to the people who have done it."

* Hector Sanchez (shoulder) DHed in an extended spring training game Thursday and will catch seven innings in a game Friday, Bochy said. If that goes well, Sanchez will catch another seven innings Saturday and then be evaluated for whether he can join the Giants for their opening series.

* Sanchez and Sandoval's situations may cause the Giants to have to scramble their plans for the Opening Day roster. But Bochy said Thursday the Giants' brain trust has "pretty much decided where we're going to go" on roster moves.

Bochy said there is still one "very tough call" to make. It could be the fifth outfielder spot, where Francisco Peguero and Cole Gillespie remain the candidates. Both entered Thursday's game as pinch hitters and went hitless in one at-bat.

A utility infield spot is also undetermined. Bochy said before the game that Nick Noonan "can't do any more than what he's done. It's just a matter of what our needs are and the role that he would be in."

* Jose Mijares, who has battled an elbow issue in camp, threw a scoreless eighth inning.

"He looked good," Bochy said. "Very encouraging. Had his velocity, I think he hit 93. Had good command, had a good breaking ball. He's a little behind but I thought he looked sharp tonight."

Bochy said the Giants will try to get Mijares another outing Saturday.

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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