ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ravaged by injuries, the Los Angeles Angels are taking a chance on Tim Lincecum, the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner who is coming off major hip surgery and looking to regain his career.
He signed a $2.5 million, one-year deal on Friday, eight months after having left hip surgery. He didn’t pitch after June 27 last year with the Giants because of injuries.
"I’m anxious, excited and a little nervous," Lincecum said by phone. "I’m pumped to see what I can do out there on the field. I know what I’m fighting for and that’s to get back to a starting role."
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He didn’t sign with a team after finishing a $35 million, two-year deal last season.
General manager Billy Eppler said Lincecum would need 20 to 30 days to get ready. He will initially report to the team’s spring training facility in Arizona, where he’s been living for the last nine months.
"The common denominator of these star-level players is they know their body really well," Eppler said. "We’re relying a lot on the player. He’ll tell us when he’s ready because he’s earned that."
Lincecum’s free-agent deal with the Angels includes $1,175,000 in performance bonuses and $500,000 in roster bonuses. He would receive $25,000 for making 11 starts, $50,000 for 13, $100,000 for 15, $200,000 for 17 and $400,000 each for 19 and 21 starts.
In addition, he would receive $125,000 each for four, 30, 60 and 90 days on the active roster, excluding disabled list days spent due to a right hip injury.
The Angels certainly need the help. They have 10 players on the disabled list including pitchers Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, C.J. Wilson, Huston Street and Cory Rasmus. Tyler Skaggs is recovering from Tommy John surgery and is on the minor league DL with Triple-A Salt Lake.
"Tim is an outstanding pitcher, one of the most competitive pitchers that has ever taken the mound," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That will go a long way to offset maybe some of the velocity changes that have happened over the last four, five years with Tim. He still has plenty of fastball, his off-speed pitches are still terrific, so when you put that whole combination together he’s going to go out there and give us a chance to win games."
Lincecum said his landing leg is stable and he has freedom of motion for his unique delivery. Before the surgery, his biggest issues were lack of stability and strength as opposed to pain.
"Success will be being healthy at the end of this season and seeing where I’m at after that," he said.
Lincecum won the Cy Young Award in 2008 and 2009 and made four All-Star Game appearances. He helped the Giants win three World Series titles in five years, and he had a pair of no-hitters against San Diego during an 11-month span between the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
"Is he going to be the version of himself six, seven years ago?" Eppler said. "I don’t know, but the circumstances were right for us to take this chance."
The Giants were the only other team Lincecum has ever pitched for, and he said they showed some interest. However, his desire to start didn’t match up with the Giants’ plans.
"It is tough because I’ve had a lot of emotions and time built up with them," he said.
The 31-year-old right-hander went 7-4 with a 4.13 ERA in 15 starts last season. He threw a showcase for interested clubs May 6 in Arizona.