SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum's absence from Saturday night's postgame division-clinching celebration was purely legitimate and due to unavoidable circumstances, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Sunday.

Bochy explained that pitchers assigned to start a day game following a night game are urged to go home during the late innings and rest. Lincecum was scheduled to start Sunday. Though the Giants jumped to a 5-1 lead through four innings and ultimately defeated San Diego, 8-4, telling Lincecum that he would not pitch Sunday would have been a risky violation of baseball protocol, in the event that San Diego rallied.

Thus, Lincecum's departure from AT&T Park was excused. Bochy said that the right-hander wanted to return to the ballpark to join the festivities, but "by then it was too late."

The most notable example of this occurred in late August during the 2010 season, when Bochy and general manager Brian Sabean lectured members of the starting rotation after a stretch of subpar pitching performances. The lone pitcher absent was Matt Cain, who was the following day's starter.

The Giants announced late Saturday night that Lincecum would be scratched from Sunday's start and replaced by Yusmeiro Petit.

Giants look to stay sharp after post-clinch rest

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy gave his regulars an essential rest Sunday, seizing upon the timing of his club's clinching the National League West title Saturday night.

Combined with Monday's scheduled off-day, position players will get at least a two-day break. Bochy indicated that he'd use the regular lineup in Tuesday's series opener against Arizona as he tries to strike the proper balance between keeping players fresh and helping them stay sharp with the Division Series nearly two weeks away.

Bochy was well aware that Sunday's Fan Appreciation Day crowd at AT&T Park might be disappointed to see a Giants lineup filled with September callups and reserves.

"It's hard not to have the regulars in there, who the fans are accustomed to watching," Bochy said. "But we have some guys who need a break."

Bochy cited Angel Pagan, the center fielder and leadoff hitter who does everything at full speed, and second baseman Marco Scutaro, who's seemingly always on base, as two starters who particularly could use a rest.

Also high on Bochy's rest-and-relaxation list was catcher Buster Posey, who had played 27 consecutive games since missing games Aug. 22-23 with a tight right hamstring. Bochy said it was "50-50" whether Posey would play first base Sunday, and Posey emphatically expressed the need to stay active.

"It's important to keep the same focus ... of wanting to play the game hard," Posey said, pounding his left palm with his right fist for emphasis.

Bochy expressed mild concern about third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who tumbled over a railing to catch Yonder Alonso's fourth-inning popup Saturday.

"After that fall, he's probably a little beat up," Bochy said.

Bochy also cited shortstop Brandon Crawford, who experienced tightness in his right hamstring late in Saturday's game. But Crawford said Sunday that he felt fine.

Giants to put all five starters on postseason roster

SAN FRANCISCO -- Manager Bruce Bochy announced Sunday that all five pitchers in the Giants' starting rotation will be on the club's postseason roster, though one of them must switch to a relief role.

"That's fair [to say]," Bochy said. "I would say that's the plan now, sure."

Bochy said that he and pitching coach Dave Righetti are discussing whether they'll use the remaining nine regular-season games to set up the postseason rotation by shuffling the order in which the starters appear.

Bochy added that the selection of the postseason starters and the order in which they'll be used could hinge more on the Division Series schedule -- whether the Giants open at home or on the road -- than on which team the Giants face.

Since Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner are locks to make the postseason rotation, Bochy and his staff will have to choose among Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito to fill the four-man contingent.

Zito, who was omitted from the roster for the entire 2010 postseason, termed the news that he would be included this time as "outstanding."