Lincecum is strong in spring debut
March 3, 2014
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Two starting pitchers looking to rejuvenate their careers, right-handers Josh Johnson of San Diego and Tim Lincecum of San Francisco, made successful spring debuts on Monday in the Padres' 7-2 victory over the Giants.
Johnson, who signed a one-year, $8 million free-agent contract with San Diego after spending the 2013 season with Toronto, pitched two hitless innings and struck out two. He was on the disabled list for part of 2013 and had surgery on Oct. 1 to remove bone spurs and loose cartilage in his right elbow.
Lincecum, who signed a two-year, $35 million deal in the offseason after finishing 10-14 with a 4.37 ERA in 2013, gave up a hit, walked one and struck out one in two innings. He was the National League's Cy Young Award winner in 2008 and 2009.
The Padres' Alexi Amarista broke a scoreless tie with a home run to lead off what would prove to be a six-run sixth, and Tommy Medica hit a two-run shot.
San Diego was 0-4-1 entering the game.
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Padres: The 6-foot-7 Johnson was pleased with his outing.
"I executed most of my pitches most of the time, did what I wanted. If I wanted to go in, I was in. I threw a couple of good change-ups and a good slider," he said. "Everything was comfortable. I wasn't fighting myself or my body."
He doesn't know if he will be able to approach the level that enabled him to lead the NL in ERA (2.30) in 2010 while with the then-Florida Marlins, but he was encouraged.
"I threw the best change-ups I had since I was in the minor leagues," he said.
Giants: Lincecum made some mid-outing adjustments that helped him settle down.
"My hip was out of alignment, which caused me to fall toward the plate instead of drive (with the legs)," Lincecum said.
He only threw a portion of his repertoire, primarily the fastball, split-finger and curveball but no slider.
"It was good to get a sense of a real game-type atmosphere," he said.
Some people were surprised that the Giants decided to re-sign Lincecum, especially for such significant money, even though he pitched a no-hitter against the Padres on July 13. He threw a career-high 148 pitches and struck out 13.
"I wanted to (re-) prove myself as a Giant, not with some other club," Lincecum said.
Padres: Center fielder Cameron Maybin will be out two to three months after he ruptured his left biceps tendon while diving for a ball against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, the team said.
Will Venable likely will be the primary replacement. Venable started in center and hit leadoff against the Giants.
Giants: First baseman Brandon Belt continued to be bothered by a stiff neck. Manager Bruce Bochy held him out Monday because Belt couldn't swing a bat without discomfort. Bochy said he hoped Belt would be able to return to the lineup for a road game on Tuesday against Colorado.
LHP Jeremy Affeldt (leg muscle surgery) pitched a strong inning in a "B' game on Monday against the Chicago Cubs, not allowing a hit while walking one and striking out one.
Bochy called the setup man's outing "real good. He had a nice breaking ball and good command of his fastball. He should feel good about that inning."
GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE
In the same "B' game against the Cubs, right-hander Kyle Crick pitched two innings, giving up a run on two hits. The Giants' supplemental first-round pick in 2011, listed as the Giants' top prospect by Baseball America, struck out the side in his second inning.
After a horrendous first spring outing in which he gave up six runs on seven hits in one inning of work, closer Sergio Romo returned to the mound on Monday and pitched a hitless inning, striking out two.
Also, free-agent left fielder Michael Morse, hitless in his first eight at-bats, finally got his first hit as well as a walk.