Rangers give Lincecum unconditional release after rehab

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Tim Lincecum won’t be making a major league comeback with the Texas Rangers, who had signed the two-time NL Cy Young winner during spring training with plans for him to be a reliever.

The Rangers granted Lincecum his unconditional release Tuesday after the end of his 30-day rehab assignment at Triple-A Round Rock.

”Despite best intentions and a lot of hard work, we just didn’t feel that it was the right move to bring him up right now,” general manager Jon Daniels said. ”He was throwing OK, still kind of inconsistent with this command. We just were not of the mindset that it was going to be an upgrade on our relievers who are here. Our bullpen’s been very, very good here.”

A three-time World Series champion with the San Francisco Giants, Lincecum hasn’t pitched in the majors since August 2016 with the Los Angeles Angels.

Lincecum, who will turn 34 on June 15, had season-ending hip surgery in September 2015 while still with the Giants. He made a brief comeback with the Angels the following season, going 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA in nine starts, the last on Aug. 5, 2016.

After Lincecum impressed during an offseason tryout for scouts, the Rangers signed him in March with the idea that he might even become a closer. But he developed a blister on his right middle finger and started the season on the disabled list. With his rehab assignment up Tuesday, the Rangers had to make a move.

In 10 appearances for Round Rock, Lincecum had a 5.68 ERA with 10 strikeouts and nine walks in 12 2-3 innings.

”Obviously we took a calculated risk there in spring training based on what we had seen,” Daniels said.

Going in Tuesday night’s home game against Oakland, Rangers relievers hadn’t given up a run in 11 innings and had allowed only three runs over 31 2-3 innings in a 10-game stretch with four wins and three saves.

Lincecum has started 270 of his 278 career big league games. He was 108-83 in San Francisco from 2007-15.

The Rangers GM said he had spoken with Lincecum, who he described being as appreciative of the opportunity.

”I think he’s planning on heading back to the West Coast and continuing to work,” Daniels said.

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