Giants' Lincecum misses start with blister

Published: Sunday, Mar. 3, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 8C
Last Modified: Sunday, Mar. 3, 2013 - 7:40 am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum was scratched from his scheduled start Saturday with a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand.

Lincecum, who was scheduled to pitch his second outing of the spring, said he doesn't expect the issue to keep him out long. Manager Bruce Bochy said Lincecum is "close" to a return and could do so in a couple days.

"It's not too terrible – nothing I haven't dealt with before," said Lincecum, who reportedly battled blister issues during the 2010 postseason. "I don't want to compound it and make it worse and turn it into something to keep me out during the season."

Yusmeiro Petit started in Lincecum's place Saturday and turned in one of the best outings by a Giants starter so far, allowing one hit in three shutout innings in the Giants' 9-7 split-squad win over the Cubs.

Petit, who spent last year at Triple-A Fresno and made one late-season relief appearance for the Giants, is one of a handful of pitchers vying for one spot in the Giants' bullpen.

"He did a nice job I thought last year in Fresno, that's why we brought him up to give us some help," Bochy said. "He's got experience, he knows what he's doing, he hits his spots, holds runners. He can do the little things to help you."

Nice exit – Third baseman Pablo Sandoval gave himself a rousing sendoff with his first home run of the spring Saturday in his final at-bat before joining Venezuela for the World Baseball Classic.

Sandoval turned on a 1-1 curveball from Cubs right-hander Carlos Villanueva in the third inning and hit it over the bleachers in right field. Asked where the pitch was, Sandoval said: "Low. Real low."

Venezuela opens its WBC schedule Thursday against the Dominican Republic in Puerto Rico. Sandoval said he's excited to represent his country, and being ready for the chance was a main reason he played winter ball during the offseason.

The Giants are now without their eight WBC players, with the exception of Ryan Vogelsong, who is scheduled to make one more Cactus League start Monday before joining the U.S. team.

Sergio Romo, who will play for Mexico, pitched a scoreless inning Saturday against the Cubs. Left-hander Jeremy Affeldt had a rockier farewell, walking the bases loaded in the fourth and allowing three runs and two hits in one-third of an inning.

Bochy said it looked like Affeldt "just started rushing."

Et cetera – Infielder Kensuke Tanaka went 2 for 5 with a double against the Cubs and made a nice defensive play ranging to his right in the first inning. After starting the spring 0 for 9, Tanaka has four hits in his last eight at-bats.

"He looks like his confidence is growing," Bochy said. "He's thrown out some good at-bats."

• Brandon Belt continued his torrid hitting with a 4-for-5 day for the other half of the Giants' split squad, which lost 9-5 to the Kansas City Royals in Surprise, Ariz. Belt hit his second home run of the spring and is batting .526 (10 for 19).

• Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens won his WBC managing debut as the Netherlands defeated Korea 5-0.

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