Struggling Lincecum hopes to right season at home

Tim Lincecum walked out of the Giants’ dugout to screams from a

mix of autograph seekers and fans wishing the now 28-year-old a

happy birthday.

Maligned for a disappointing 2-7 start to the season in San

Francisco, Lincecum is still beloved in Seattle from his high

school days at suburban Liberty High to his college career across

town at Washington.

”I’m excited for it, a little nervous. It’s that good

excitement, good nervousness. We’ll see what happens. It’s been

awhile since I’ve pitched in front of anybody in Seattle,”

Lincecum said before Friday’s series opener between the Giants and

Mariners. ”For it to be now, in this kind of stage, at this time

in the season, when for me, I need to make my stand, I need to do

something, I need to show people I’m still worth keeping in a

rotation. Hopefully, this is a springboard. Right now, I feel good

being here.

Six years after the Mariners bypassed Lincecum in the first

round of the draft, Lincecum finally will make it to the Safeco

Field mound on Saturday night for the second game of an interleague

series. Three years ago, the last time the Giants visited the

Pacific Northwest, the rotations didn’t line up for Lincecum to

pitch in Seattle as part of his second Cy Young award winning

season.

Now he’ll finally get that chance and with Lincecum struggling

like he never has in his so far stellar career. He’s lost his last

five decisions. His 6.00 ERA is the highest of his career and he’s

made it through seven innings in just three of his 13 starts this

year.

”That’s the toughest thing right now. You guys can see, the

repetition, it’s not there,” Lincecum said. ”I’ve got to get that

muscle memory back where I’m throwing everything out of the same

slot and everything looks the same. That’s what they used to say

about me, I came out of the same slot.”

Lincecum’s return brings up painful memories for Mariners fans

who still have not forgiven Seattle’s front office at the time for

selecting Brandon Morrow with the fifth overall pick and seeing

Lincecum, who was the Golden Spikes Award winner at the top

collegiate player across town at Washington, taken five picks later

by the Giants. Asked about the decision on Friday, Lincecum

reiterated that he has no animosity toward Seattle for not

selecting him.

”I was completely content with what happened that day. I was on

the golf course when it happened and it was one of the best days of

my life,’ Lincecum said.

Lincecum spent a significant amount of time posing for pictures

and signing autographs down the left-field line after batting

practice concluded on Friday night. Occasionally the throng broke

out into ”Happy Birthday,” with plenty in the crowd holding signs

welcoming Lincecum back home.

”I feel like this is a comfort zone for me,” Lincecum said.

”When I left for college the reason I went to (Washington) was

because it was close to home. One of the things that benefited me

when I got drafted was San Francisco was the closest team to home.

I’m a homebody.”