Freak-y Friday: Lincecum strong in showcase

Trying to come back from hip surgery as a starter, righty encouraged by 41-pitch session

May 6th, 2016

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tim Lincecum stepped on the mound at Scottsdale Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Giants, just like he had hundreds of times over the last decade.

But this time, he did it under a completely different set of circumstances.

Lincecum, 31, garbed in a U.S. Men's soccer team jersey, army green board shorts, camouflage socks and matching hat, was out to prove to scouts in attendance that the left hip injury that cut his season short in 2015 was no longer an issue.

And that's exactly what he did. The Freak lives. He also wants to be a starter.

"To be honest, I feel like I could pitch for a good five or six more years until I can't anymore at this point," he said. "I'm nowhere near that point."

Lincecum threw 41 pitches in front of representatives for more than 20 teams and 50 club representatives, including White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams and D-backs senior vice president of baseball operations De Jon Watson.

The right-handed pitcher threw 20 pitches in a six-minute first session and 21 pitches in an eight-minute second session. His fastball hovered in the 90-91 mph range in his first set of pitches and 89-90 in his second set. His fastball velocity did reach 92 during his second set.

Scouts in attendance seemed most impressed with Lincecum's curveball and changeup. The belief is that the pitcher needs to build stamina and improve on his command, but he definitely has the potential to help a Major League team.

Lincecum expects to face hitters soon as part of his training.

"I'm happy. I was able to throw strikes on my pitches, stay within myself. I commanded all of my pitches," he said. "I only had a couple misses, and they weren't [over the] middle of the plate, so that's encouraging for me."

Lincecum said he doesn't have a preference regarding where he signs and insisted that he's looking out for his best interests. That said, he's open to signing with a team as a reliever and working his way back into the starting rotation.

"If [a job] leads towards getting to a starter, I would want to work on that," he said. "But, I know I've been working my butt off with pitch counts and working off that five-day rotation to try and elongate myself as a pitcher and as a starter. So yeah, it continues today."

The Giants selected Lincecum in the first round (10th overall) of the 2006 Draft, and the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner and four-time All-Star spent his entire professional career in San Francisco. He threw two no-hitters and won three World Series rings in a Giants uniform.

Last season, Lincecum finished 7-4 with a 4.13 ERA in 15 starts but did not pitch after late June because of the hip. He had the hip surgery in September, which ended his season.

"I feel more mobile, I feel my range has improved," he said. "I feel stable on my leg, my balance has improved. I'm not even thinking about it anymore. As soon as it got better and I got on the mound enough, it was more about timing between my upper body and my lower body than just my hip."

For his career, Lincecum is 108-83 with a 3.61 ERA in 269 Major League appearances (261 starts). He's 5-2 with a 2.40 ERA in 13 postseason outings (six starts).

"I prefer whichever team needs me," he said. "Wherever, I've got to keep my doors open."