© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

06/22/07 11:25 PM ET

Notes: Lincecum likely to be skipped

Off-days cut need for fifth starter; Aurilia hopes rest, shots help

SAN FRANCISCO -- Although Tim Lincecum will make his next scheduled start Monday against San Diego, Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti said Friday that the struggling rookie likely will miss his following turn in the rotation, which would give him only one more starting assignment before the All-Star break.

The combination of scheduled off-days, Lincecum's status as the team's fifth starter and the Giants' fervent desire not to watch him continue to unravel prompted the decision. With off-days slated for Thursday and July 2, San Francisco can keep the other starters on their regular four days' rest and wouldn't need Lincecum until July 7, the next-to-last game before the break.

"Unless one of the other pitchers has a problem with health, he probably will have to skip a game," Righetti said. "I plan on skipping somebody; four guys is all we're going to need with those days off. Most likely it'll be the fifth guy."

Since posting a 2-0 record and a 3.24 ERA with 22 hits allowed and 39 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings over his first five starts, Lincecum has gone 0-2 with a 10.61 ERA, 23 hits allowed and 21 strikeouts in 22 innings through four outings. Righetti expressed hopes that Lincecum's learning process can "slow down for him a little bit" to allow him to catch his breath, figuratively speaking. Because Lincecum's professional career began late last season, he has relatively little prior experience to tap for wisdom. As Righetti said, "There's nothing to reach back on -- 'Remember when this happened?'"

Righetti emphasized that the Giants remain confident in Lincecum.

"As long as he understands that everything's going to be the same, we're not going to panic on him," Righetti said. "We know how tough it is, but we're not going to baby him, either."

Righetti hasn't noticed any extreme mechanical problems with Lincecum, 23.

"The same thing he's doing when he was getting hit, he was doing when he was throwing it by them," Righetti said. "You just don't want him to back off."

Familiar scene: The grandstand aisles surrounding the visitors' dugout were choked with people before the Giants' Interleague series opener against the New York Yankees -- the teams' first meaningful confrontation in San Francisco since Game 7 of the 1962 World Series.

Obviously, the sight of the Yankees stretching and taking batting practice was a novel experience for their displaced fans and Bay Area residents who rarely, if ever, see the New Yorkers in the flesh.

Righetti, who pitched for the Yankees from 1979-90, understood the fascination.

"It's probably like the Original Six in hockey. Certain teams are going to have certain amounts of people always there," Righetti said, pointing out that teams such as the Cubs, Dodgers and Giants also enjoy a nationwide following. "The Yankees certainly have their share."

Asked if seeing his old club across the field felt special for him, Righetti replied, "I'd be lying if I said it doesn't."

Aurilia's pain: Infielder Rich Aurilia doesn't expect to do anything regarding his strained neck until Monday except ice the sore area, rest and undergo treatment. Aurilia also has been sleeping with a neck brace to prevent any pinched nerves from developing.

Aurilia received two injections Thursday, duplicating treatment he received before he went on the 15-day disabled list last Monday. Aurilia's hoping that the shots have a cumulative effect.

"I felt fine three days after the first shots," said Aurilia, who felt so miserable after playing last Saturday in Boston that he couldn't fall asleep until 5 a.m. "But a swing is a violent thing. When it's involving your arms, shoulders and neck, it's not going to help things."

Standup lineups: Expect the announcement of Saturday's lineups on FOX's broadcast to be funnier than usual when comedians Robin Williams and Billy Crystal do the honors. Crystal, a Yankees fan, will announce New York's lineup, while Williams will get the start opposite Crystal for the Giants.

Draft signings: The Giants signed 31 of their selections from the First-Year Player Draft earlier this month, including shortstop Nick Noonan, a "sandwich" pick who was taken 32nd overall, catcher Jackson Williams (43rd overall) and shortstop Charlie Culberson (51st).

Coming up: The Giants and Yankees continue their series Saturday at 12:55 p.m. PT. Matt Morris (7-4), the Giants' leading winner, will oppose New York right-hander Chien-Ming Wang (7-4).

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.