Giants’ Lincecum struggles in 1st start of spring
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Tim Lincecum’s long hair is gone. Don’t let the new image fool you.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner is hoping he looks like the pitcher he was before struggling last season.
Lincecum gave up three runs and failed to get through two innings in his first spring training start Tuesday for the San Francisco Giants, an 8-8 tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 28-year-old right-hander shed the shaggy do this winter, and he worked with two trainers to increase his strength after going 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA last year. He thrived as a reliever during the Giants’ run to a World Series championship but is poised to return to form as a starter this season.
Lincecum gave up four hits and was done for the day after Skip Schumaker’s two-run double with one out in the second inning.
Still, he was happy with his effort.
“Mechanically, I felt really good,” Lincecum said. “I hit most of my pitches, other than a slider that kind of spun out on me. I threw all my pitches. I definitely felt strong.
“It’s just a good sign to feel the ball come out of your hand in a way that it didn’t last year,” he said.
Lincecum said he started against the Dodgers without the benefit of pitching batting practice at the Giants training camp in Scottsdale. He said his scheduled session was canceled because of rain.
“Last year, I didn’t have the will to sustain my pitching,” he said. “I wasn’t strong enough. But now I feel like I am.”
Josh Beckett, meanwhile, struck out three in two scoreless innings for Los Angeles.
“I got my pitches in,” Beckett said. “That’s the most important thing. I don’t think you can take too much from results right now. But I feel good.”
The Giants trailed the Dodgers by five runs after two innings. Two homers by designated hitter Brett Pill led the San Francisco comeback.
With two outs and the Dodgers leading by two in the ninth, Pill drove a pitch from Dodgers right-hander Gregory Infante over the left-field wall. Pill also hit a solo shot in the fourth.
NOTES: Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp took batting practice Tuesday morning at Camelback Ranch. Kemp is coming off shoulder surgery. Both he and Carl Crawford are getting closer to appearing in their first spring training game. Crawford, who had elbow surgery before the Red Sox traded him in August to the Dodgers, took batting practice Monday. . Dodgers’ third baseman Luis Cruz was scratched from Tuesday’s lineup because of the flu. Juan Uribe started at third. . The Dodgers travel to Mesa’s HoHoKam Park Wednesday for a game against the Chicago Cubs. The Dodgers’ scheduled starter is right-hander Aaron Harang, who was 10-10 last year. The Cubs plan to start left-hander Brooks Haley, who was 1-2 after he joined the major league roster last August from triple-A Iowa. . The Giants play the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday at Tempe Diablo Stadium. The Giants scheduled starter is right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, 15-9 last year including one victory at Triple-A Fresno. The Angels plan to go with left-hander Nick Maronde, 6-4 in the minor leagues last year.