San Francisco Giants

Tim Lincecum exits Cactus League outing early with stiff neck

-- Tim Lincecum said he woke up Wednesday morning with neck stiffness and hoped it would go away by the time he pitched against the Milwaukee Brewers. It didn’t, resulting in Lincecum departing after one rocky inning despite being penciled in for three.

Lincecum said he had trouble turning his head to the left, which threw off his delivery and caused him to leave pitches up against the Brewers. He allowed three runs on three hits and a walk in his one inning and got treatment after the short outing.

"It was kind of frustrating to not be able to go the three (innings) and not get the work in for the body," Lincecum said. "But I’m not going to get much positive work in trying to pitch with a jammed neck."

Lincecum joked he might have slept funny given his pillow was a rock he picked up on nearby Camelback Mountain. Manager Bruce Bochy said the abbreviated stint will not put Lincecum behind schedule getting ready for the start of the season.

"We have time," Bochy said. "Timmy’s already getting more stretched out than what he did today."

Bochy said Matt Cain and Tim Hudson, both of whom are coming back from offseason surgery and made their spring debuts this week, are also on track to be ready when the season starts April 6.

* Brandon Crawford was back at shortstop in the Giants’ 6-3 loss to the Brewers on Wednesday and came away from the game feeling fine. Crawford has been held back with shoulder soreness, but Bochy said it’s time for Crawford to get some innings in the field to prepare for the season.

"It was good to see him out there," Bochy said. "He’ll be off tomorrow, but will be back out there on Friday."

* The Giants will be adding a player Thursday, at least for an inning. Actor Will Ferrell is traveling around to five different Cactus League games to play all nine positions in a day as part of a project between HBO and Major League Baseball. He’s tentatively scheduled to catch the fifth inning for the Giants in their game against the White Sox.

That means one of the Giants’ pitchers, ostensibly, will be throwing to Ferrell (there’s a chance he might just catch an intentional walk). Bochy was asked who that pitcher might be and said he hadn’t decided yet -- though Madison Bumgarner has already lobbied for the honors.

"Bum asked me and I said, ‘No, Bum, it’s the fifth inning,’" Bochy said. "He looked at me serious: ‘What, you don’t think I’ll be in there in the fifth inning?’"

Bochy said he’s just glad Ferrell won’t be facing Bumgarner from the batter’s box.

"You can’t tell Bum to take it easy," Bochy said. "Bum would give him his best stuff."

* Santiago Casilla has not been sharp so far this spring. Casilla has allowed six runs on seven hits in five innings after giving up a pair of runs in a two-inning stint Wednesday. Bochy said the reason right now is simple:

"Mistakes with the fastball," Bochy said. "He said right now he’s not sharp with the command of his fastball, particularly the one away, on the glove side."

George Kontos, meanwhile, continued his strong spring with 1 2/3 scoreless innings and has now pitched 4 2/3 Cactus League innings allowing one run on a solo homer.

* Brandon Belt hit his first home run of spring on a long drive to right field in the fourth inning and is now 7-for-17 (.412) in Cactus League play. Casey McGehee is also swinging a hot bat right now -- he went 2-for-3 and is 7-for-15 (.467) this spring. Hector Sanchez returned to the lineup at DH and went 1-for-3.

Call The Bee’s Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015. See his baseball coverage at Follow him on Twitter at @matthewkawahara.