The Spring Training season is five games old and the Dodger-Giant game from yesterday was critiqued and reviewed in San Francisco with great interest. This was primarily because it was Tim Lincecum’s first trip to the mound this spring.
|Tim Lincecum in action on Tuesday at Camelback Ranch. (photo by Marcio jose Sanchez)|
Lincecum, who spent the off season working on his conditioning and overall image all the way down to his haircut, is of great concern to the organization. 2012 was by far his worst campaign in his six year major league career. There was a significant reduction in his velocity, a lack of command, a propensity to fall behind in counts and increase on giving up the long ball. Whether it was mechanics or simply that he is physically deteriorating after five amazing seasons, it is hard to pinpoint.
It is safe to say that Tim is currently pitching for his life. Lincecum will earn $22 million this season, the final year of a lucrative 4 year contract that has paid him $41 million the past three years. He will be a free agent following this season. A good year could result in another eight figure deal. A fantastic year might land him a 5 year $100 million deal. If he tails off again this year, look for Lincecum to be a bargain for somebody that will be free agent shopping in 2014.
In yesterday’s action, the Dodgers touched him up for three runs and four hits in an inning and a third. Yet, Lincecum departed pleased with his performance. “Mechanically, I felt really good,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman. “The timing of my arm was good. I missed a couple of pitches up high, but it’s kind of because I wanted to. Besides that, it wasn’t anything too far off from where I wanted to throw it.”
It’s hard to gauge things this early in Spring training and Lincecum will toe the rubber eight or nine more times before opening day, but it will be interesting to see how he progresses. Tim fully understands the implications this season will have on the rest of his career. Dodger fans know that the pennant race will be much more difficult with a steady Lincecum added to the San Francisco rotation. The “hated ones” will be a formidable opponent and the ball club to keep an eye on throughout the year.
Today's action featured the Dodgers heading away from CBR for the first time, out to Mesa's Hohokam Park, where they defeated the Cubs 11-7. Aaron Harang was touched up for four earned runs in his first inning of work before settling down and pitching a scoreless second inning.
Alfredo Amezaga went 3 for 3 with two RBIs and Alex Castellanos hit his second homer in three games of action. Yasiel Puig went 2 for 3 and scored three runs as he continues to impress. His lone out was a long fly ball caught at the warning track a full 410 feet from the plate.
|Tim Federowicz congratulates Yasiel Puig as he scores in today's action at Mesa (photo by Matt York/AP)|
Dodger pitching did not allow an earned run in the final eight innings of the contest as Belisario, Lowe, Guerra, Magill, Sanchez and Abreu finished off the game. Matt Magill was especially impressive as he struck out five batters in two innings of work. So far in two outings, Magill has yet to give up a run. Initially I was thinking that Koufax may have assisted him, but Eric Stepehen at TrueBlueLA.com (LINKED HERE) reports that Magill still hasn't had an opportunity to work with Sandy, who still remains in camp, a full 12 days and counting.