Lincecum dominating in final tuneup
Right-hander shows he's ready with five hitless innings
SAN FRANCISCO -- Most Giants zealots share the belief that Tim Lincecum will pitch a no-hitter someday. Friday, he provided a sample of how that wondrous event might look.Lincecum didn't just tune up for the regular season. He performed a full detailing job, rotated the tires and changed the windshield wipers -- which were necessary in Friday night's steady rain. The right-hander no-hit the Oakland A's during his five innings, helping the Giants record their ninth exhibition victory with a 3-0 decision at AT&T Park. Lincecum allowed only one baserunner, walking Donnie Murphy on a 3-2 pitch to open the third inning. The only Oakland batter to flirt with a hit was Mark Ellis, whose sharp fourth-inning grounder to the left side was smothered by third baseman Rich Aurilia. Ellis was easily thrown out at first base. Lincecum, whose next scheduled outing will be April 2 at Dodger Stadium in the regular season's third game, struck out the side in the third and fifth innings on his way to totaling nine strikeouts. He also ended the second and fourth innings with strikeouts, enhancing his dominance. The 23-year-old right-hander relied on fastballs and changeups, explaining that he couldn't get the feel of his breaking pitches while warming up. Most importantly for Lincecum, he vanquished all doubts about his readiness for the season. A mild groin pull midway through Spring Training forced him to make one start under controlled conditions in a Minor League game. "He came in a little behind, but now he's ready to go," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Lincecum, who threw 42 strikes in 67 pitches. Lincecum said that he didn't even think about his no-hitter -- "I got done what I wanted to do," he said -- although Bochy joked about it. "I told Rags [pitching coach Dave Righetti], 'Now you're going to get me hooted on for taking him out,'" Bochy said. Lincecum's biggest concern was the wet mound, since he knew that one slip on his long stride toward home plate could reinjure his groin. "I was making sure that my landing wasn't as pronounced as it usually is. I was softer on my feet," Lincecum said. The Seattle-area native added, "I've dealt with these kinds of conditions before."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.