SAN FRANCISCO -- Between an over-the-head windup and constant self-analysis of his mechanics, Tim Lincecum admits he was "obviously" at the point where he was thinking too much.On Tuesday afternoon, Lincecum went back to basics, throwing long toss with fellow starter Barry Zito as he searched for the feel that has eluded him during a career-long four-game losing streak. Although long toss is a part of many pitchers' off-day routines, Lincecum said he is trying to incorporate it more in his than he has in the past. "The whole purpose of it is to be able to get extension so I can get my pitches out in front and feel them coming off my finger tips, where I'm not pushing the ball to the plate, I'm pulling it, which is how I throw," Lincecum said. "I'm just trying to get that back that feeling, that's the whole reason behind it." The struggles of Lincecum's worst season of his career -- in which he's still 11-8 with a 3.72 ERA and 173 strikeouts -- have been well-documented, as have been his frustrations. From tinkering with an over-the-head windup for two starts to meticulously analyzing his mechanics, Lincecum has constantly searched for answers. A conversation with his father reminded him that, although his mechanics are about precision, they're also about feel. "My dad's like, 'Timmy, you really shouldn't have to think so much to do this,'" Lincecum said. "Obviously, it's easy to say you've been doing this long enough, you've been using these mechanics long enough, but it comes down to the part where it's a feel, whether it feels good or it doesn't feel good, and it was getting to the point where I was over-thinking it instead of just feeling it out."
Bochy considering Ross-Torres platoon
SAN FRANCISCO -- Cody Ross got his first start Tuesday as a Giant, playing right field and batting fifth in the second game of a three-game series.Ross, who appeared in 77 games in center and 45 in right for the Marlins, shifted to right with incumbent Andres Torres getting the nod in center despite Cincinnati starting left-hander Travis Wood. In his breakout season, the switch-hitting Torres is hitting .224 as a right-handed batter, opposed to .308 on the left side. Also, 11 of Torres' 13 homers have come as a left-handed hitter. The arrival of the right-handed-hitting Ross -- who is hitting .280 against lefties -- was perceived by many to indicate a platoon situation for the Giants in center field, but manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday he wouldn't yet commit to anything. "I can't say it's going to be routine," Bochy said. "Tonight we'll take a look at it and see how it goes. ... I'd like to take a look at this. With Torres in there, it gives us our leadoff hitter, that's what I like about this lineup."
Bochy sorting out crowded outfield
SAN FRANCISCO -- In early June, when Pat Burrell first joined the Giants and Aubrey Huff was spending the majority of his time in the outfield, Giants manager Bruce Bochy gathered his outfielders together to talk about how they would be used.Now, with the recent additions of Jose Guillen and Cody Ross, Bochy has six outfielders -- not including Huff -- to try to plug into three spots. Good problem or bad? "It's a little bit of both," Bochy said Tuesday. "I've got guys who want to be out there every day, I know it, but I can't do it. ... But it's not easy, the fact that these guys are used to being in there every day, so it's an adjustment on their part." Along with Guillen and Ross, Bochy also has Andres Torres, Burrell, Aaron Rowand and Nate Schierholtz. One would think that Torres and Burrell will likely be in the lineup on a regular basis -- because of speed and power, respectively -- while Schierholtz has found a role as a late-inning pinch-runner and defensive replacement. How Bochy will manager Guillen, Rowand and Ross, however, will be interesting to watch. "I think they understand and see our roster and know where we're at," Bochy said. "They're all going to play and if they're not starting they're probably going to be in there.
Sanchez taking eight-hole duty in stride
SAN FRANCISCO -- Freddy Sanchez likes to bunt and be at the plate with the hit-and-run sign on. He is, between those qualities and his superb bat control, the quintessential No. 2 hitter.But after struggling for much of the season, Sanchez was put in a platoon situation until the Giants realized his glove was too valuable to be on the bench. Now, he's been back in the lineup, playing second base but hitting eighth. Sanchez said he understands why he's in the eight-hole -- admitting he "wasn't getting the job done" -- but that doesn't change his thoughts on hitting there. "I think it's definitely mentally tougher. The mental part definitely plays a bigger role," Sanchez said. "I just feel a lot more comfortable in the two-hole than in the eight-hole. It's definitely a tougher at-bat with the pitcher hitting behind you and I think there's a lot of things the pitcher can do -- trying to get you to chase or hit his pitch -- as opposed to hitting your pitch." Giants manager Bruce Bochy admitted Tuesday that, ideally, he'd love to put Sanchez back in the two-hole because of what he can do with the bat. If and when that happens, however, Bochy noted that a run producer such as Juan Uribe or someone else would then have to bump down to eighth. Those changes might come sooner rather than later, with Sanchez hitting .400 (12-for-30) in his past eight games, including a 4-for-5 night on Monday. Even with his recent surge, Sanchez said he thinks he has to continue to hit if he wants to be back in the two-hole. "I think I can be, but it takes more than what I've done for this past week," Sanchez said. "I've got to go out there and keep doing it and then have consistently good at-bats, that's the key. Right now, wherever I am in the lineup, I've got to do my job."
Cash Kruth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.