Giants’ Lincecum escapes major injury on grounder
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum escaped what appeared to be a serious injury with only a bruised left knee in his final spring start.
Now, he hopes he won’t miss his first outing of the regular season, scheduled for Thursday at Arizona.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner left Friday night’s 4-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics after going down writhing in pain when he was hit on the inside of his knee by a grounder from Daric Barton in the fourth inning.
Lincecum tried to run toward first but immediately fell to the ground, unable to put any pressure on his leg, but said later it was ”dead leg” from the initial force and pain of the ball hitting him. He limped off the field with the assistance of two trainers. X-rays were negative.
”That’s always a relief,” Lincecum said. ”We’re just going to keep treating it until it gets better. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. Usually it’s that second day it kind of hurts the most, but right now it feels pretty good. … Not too worried. I knew it hit me in a good spot. It didn’t hit me in the front of the kneecap. I just wanted to walk it off.”
Oakland starter Jesse Chavez didn’t allow a hit until Angel Pagan’s one-out double in the sixth and was backed by John Jaso’s solo homer.
Sam Fuld added a bases-loaded triple off Dan Runzler in the sixth.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy isn’t ruling out Lincecum to make his start against the Diamondbacks. The pitcher will be re-evaluated Saturday.
”I’m sure he’s going to be pretty sore for a couple of days,” Bochy said. ”If I had to guess right now, he’d be OK to start on Thursday.”
Athletics: Chavez dazzled in his fifth start of the spring and is showing manager Bob Melvin he can be a reliable replacement in an injury-plagued rotation.
Chavez is now among the starters as Jarrod Parker recovers from season-ending Tommy John surgery and A.J. Griffin nurses his own elbow injury that will sideline him early in the year.
Chavez allowed only the one hit over 5 1-3 innings, struck out five and walked one with a hit batter to finish the spring with a 2.22 ERA.
Giants: When Lincecum limped off, it appeared he might be seriously hurt.
Lincecum, who signed a $35 million, two-year contract in late October to stay with San Francisco, allowed three hits and one run in four innings. He struck out four and walked three.
”You never want to see anybody get hit by a comebacker, especially the pitcher and a guy of his caliber,” Chavez said.
Athletics: Reliever Ryan Cook is set to pitch in a minor league game in Arizona on Saturday to test his injured shoulder. He will begin the season on the disabled list, but could be back sometime late next week when the A’s host Seattle.
”There’s a chance we could see him as soon as the latter part of the Seattle series, but each and every time he goes out there we’re going to monitor him and make sure we feel like everything’s going well for him, he’s healthy, the velocity’s there, the command’s there,” Melvin said. ”We don’t want to bring him back too early, but he’s certainly an integral part of our bullpen. We’d like to have him back as soon as we can.”
Griffin is yet to begin strengthening his elbow and is still just giving it rest.
Giants: Aside from Lincecum’s scare, outfielder Juan Perez was hit in the chest and collarbone area by a stray ball thrown early in pregame warmups. But all was OK.
Second baseman Marco Scutaro fielded grounders and hit during a workout in Scottsdale, Ariz., as part of his rehab from a back injury that has required several injections this spring.
OFF TO OAKLAND
After the A’s won both games Thursday and Friday at AT&T Park, the teams will play their final exhibition in the Bay Bridge Series at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday – weather permitting.
There could be more rest than baseball, and both sides were already taking the forecast into account.
One example: Bochy allowed for the use of the designated hitter despite the game being in an NL ballpark. Hector Sanchez was the Giants’ DH, as he has been during interleague play in the past.
By Friday postgame, Bochy had spoken to all of his players about the likely final roster, but wanted to see how Lincecum felt Saturday.
For Oakland, Melvin said outfielder Michael Taylor hasn’t been told one way or another whether he will make the club – but Taylor is out of options so Oakland will likely do its best to find a team for him via trade.
Nick Punto returned to the A’s lineup after missing Thursday’s game with a tender hamstring. He played second base and shortstop. Punto doubled, scored a run and drew a walk.