SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Fortunately for Tim Lincecum, his first spring session of pitching batting practice wasn't recorded for posterity.Lincecum admitted throwing the kind of pitches Monday that might have been crushed in a regular-season game: high fastballs. Well, not overly elevated, but "mid-thigh-high," in Lincecum's words. But this was a February morning and not a hot August night, so Lincecum was safe to get his work in. In fact, he considered the stint a productive one overall, rating it an 8.5 on an ascending scale of one to 10. "It wasn't as sharp as I was hoping," Lincecum said, referring to the command of his fastball. But, he added, "My changeup felt good and my rhythm felt good."
Though Lincecum confronted Andrew Susac, Francisco Peguero, Conor Gillaspie and Justin Christian, instead of, say, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and James Loney, the opportunity to face hitters excited him."It's hard not to kind of get a little more amped up, let the adrenaline kind of take you over, on that first day when a batter steps in," Lincecum said. "It is a game-type atmosphere. You're not working with counts or anything, but it's like, 'Hey, I'm going against a hitter right now,' which is what I do for a job." Manager Bruce Bochy hinted that Lincecum could start Saturday's exhibition opener against Arizona, but wouldn't officially announce the assignment.
Second baseman Freddy Sanchez, who's attempting to recover from a dislocated right shoulder, encountered what manager Bruce Bochy called "a little hiccup" by experiencing lower back pain Monday.Bochy maintained his hope that Sanchez will be able to join full-squad drills in the next day or two. So far, Sanchez mostly has worked out on his own. Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong tested his strained back by playing catch on flat ground. Bochy said that Vogelsong, San Francisco's No. 4 starter who has been sidelined since the beginning of Spring Training, might try throwing again Tuesday. Catcher Buster Posey was excused from drills Monday, though he underwent the usual treatment on his injured left leg at the team's training facility. The Giants will intermittently give Posey similar breaks as he continues his bid to heal fully. Rookie right-handers Heath Hembree and Stephen Harrold impressed Bochy with their velocity while pitching batting practice. Both are non-roster invitees. Hembree established himself as a potential heir apparent to Brian Wilson, having saved 38 games with Class A San Jose and Double-A Richmond last year. Harrold was 5-3 with a 2.95 ERA in 57 relief appearances between Class A Augusta and San Jose. "Both were bringing it pretty good today," Bochy said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.