San Francisco Giants

March 10, 2013

Lincecum says blistered finger feels fine after 32 pitches in practice

Tim Lincecum threw 32 pitches in a simulated game Saturday and said he's looking forward to rejoining the Giants' rotation this week.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Tim Lincecum threw 32 pitches in a simulated game Saturday and said he's looking forward to rejoining the Giants' rotation this week.

"Didn't really feel it at all. It wasn't really affecting any of my pitches," Lincecum said. "Getting back to normal now."

Lincecum, scratched from his last two spring starts because of a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand, threw all his pitches facing minor leaguers Nick Noonan, Gary Brown and Brock Bond in the simulated game. He expects to pitch Tuesday night against the San Diego Padres.

Lincecum had a 14-pitch first inning and 18-pitch second inning and got through seven at-bats. He left a couple of fastballs up and said his slider bowed out into the right-handed batter's box at times, but overall he was pleased with how he felt after the layoff.

"My timing was good on transfer of energy from my back leg to my front leg," Lincecum said. "Mechanically, I feel good."

Lincecum said he's still treating his finger with lime juice and a "mystery mud" to help toughen up the skin. Blisters are a problem he has dealt with in past springs and, he said it takes a little while for calluses to form.

Missing time is frustrating, he said, "especially as stupid as this can be. But to get back out there, and it's not going to be an issue from here on out – at least I hope it's not – makes me feel good."

Lincecum pitched out of the stretch to his final hitter.

At times last year he abandoned his windup altogether and pitched exclusively out of the stretch but said he's working to go back to the more traditional use of the stretch this season.

Mo's mark – Giants reliever George Kontos was drafted by the Yankees in 2006 and invited to his first big-league camp with New York in 2009. Early in that spring, the then-23-year-old Kontos sought out the Yankees' veteran closer, Mariano Rivera.

"I introduced myself and I asked him for an autograph," Kontos recalled Saturday.

Rivera graciously agreed.

"I had him sign two (baseballs) and, of course, I still have them," Kontos said. "I'm never getting rid of those, ever."

Rivera, whose 608 regular-season saves are the most all-time, announced Saturday he intends to retire at the end of this season. The 43-year-old is returning this spring from a torn ACL he suffered last season while shagging balls in the outfield during batting practice.

Kontos said the time he got to work alongside Rivera – several spring trainings and a late-season call-up in 2011 – was valuable experience.

"The biggest thing he was able to convey to me was just being able to watch hitters' swings and read their swings," Kontos said. "He throws a pitch and he's watching how they're swinging. And if he sees something, he can adjust his game plan accordingly. That's one thing I have tried to work on."

Veteran reliever Scott Proctor, a non-roster invitee in Giants camp, also was a teammate of Rivera's with the Yankees from 2004 to 2007. Proctor recalled Rivera taking him aside several times for "doing something that he didn't see was the right way," but that he "never did it in a disrespectful manner." He said Rivera became a mentor.

"It was more than just baseball, it was about life," Proctor said. "He did it with me numerous times about just off-the-field choices that I was making. He thought I could be making better ones. But it was all just out of caring."

Lopez debuts – Reliever Javier Lopez threw one inning in the Giants' 13-2 loss to the Royals in his first outing of the spring. Lopez has been recovering from a bruise on the back of his pitching hand.

"I remembered where the mound was, so that's a start," Lopez joked. "I felt OK. Throwing strikes, so that's positive."

The left-hander said it normally takes him about six spring outings to feel season-ready – a very attainable number with three weeks left in March. He allowed a run on three singles and had two strikeouts. Oddly, the two left-handers he faced both singled.

"Change of pace," Lopez said.

Et cetera – The Giants announced a crowd of 11,647. On a chilly, overcast day, many of them stayed until the end of a game that saw the Royals outhit the Giants 20-4.

"That's as ugly a game as we've had this spring," manager Bruce Bochy said. "They hung around and kept pulling for their boys."

Yusmeiro Petit, competing for a bullpen role, started for the Giants and gave up nine hits and eight runs in 1 2/3 innings.

"He was off," Bochy said. "Couldn't get the ball down."

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015.

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