03/13/2013 2:16 AM ET
Kontos focused on keeping role in Giants bullpen
By William Boor / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Despite a 2012 campaign in which he posted a 2.47 ERA in 44 appearances, George Kontos is not taking anything for granted as he begins his second season in the Giants organization.
"I have options and whenever you have options there is always the possibility you could be the guy sent out," said Kontos, 27. "I'm coming in here with the thought process and the mentality that I'm still fighting for my spot. I'm going to go out there and pitch as if it's the regular season."
In six innings this spring, Kontos has allowed one earned run while striking out seven.
The right-handed reliever is pleased with his performance thus far but still feels he has room to improve before the regular season gets under way.
"I think I'm pretty close," Kontos said. "My slider, which is my best pitch, is a little inconsistent right now. Another few more outings and I think it'll be exactly where it needs to be. I'm really happy with my fastball command. I'm happy with my sinker. Everything has been going really well with location."
In addition to his 44 appearances with the Giants, Kontos appeared in 23 Minor League games last year. The 67 appearances were the most of Kontos' career and taught him the value of each pitch.
"The biggest thing for me was just learning how to pitch that often," Kontos said. "I really learned how to minimize my pitches when I was out there. Going after hitters, being aggressive, pitching to contact, that was the biggest thing. Going after hitters to get out of innings with maybe 10 pitches as opposed to 18, 19, 20, 25."
As a result of the extended workload and with a newfound knowledge of what it takes to succeed in the Majors, Kontos altered his offseason routine to prepare himself for 2013.
Kontos was supposed to begin throwing in mid-January but opted to start picking up the baseball shortly after Thanksgiving to "build endurance [because] innings are going to start piling up quick."
While Kontos is approaching Spring Training with a high level of intensity, he is now more comfortable with the guys in the clubhouse and is looking forward to 2013.
"Overall last year was a big learning experience," Kontos said. "I had great guys around me that showed me the ropes and [I hope] to build off of the experience."
Lincecum feels fine after returning from blister
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In just his second start of Spring Training, Tim Lincecum felt he accomplished everything he set out to do.
"Just getting out there, obviously. Right now we are trying to build arm strength and still work on things," Lincecum said. "We accomplished both those today."
Lincecum, a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner, missed two scheduled starts because he had a blister on the middle finger of his right hand. Lincecum said there were no issues with the finger and he felt fine.
In Tuesday's start against the Padres, Lincecum pitched 2 1/3 innings, allowing three runs. The right-hander gave up four hits, struck out three and had his fastball clocked at 93 mph.
Prior to the game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said the organization would be happy if they got 45 pitches out of Lincecum. They got 43.
While Lincecum was pleased with the pitch count, he was happiest with his ability to turn it on and off as he sat down between innings.
"The up and down of going from one inning to the next, that's the biggest thing," Lincecum said. "Getting that time off and then going out there for another inning, so being able to get up and down is probably the biggest issue right now. [I am] trying to work on that and on elongating [my] outing."
In his next scheduled start, Lincecum hopes to throw about 60 pitches. The right-hander figures to have about four starts left this spring and said he will make it work to be ready for the regular season.
If necessary, Lincecum acknowledged he could pitch with the Giants' Minor League teams during Spring Training for extra work.
• Jeremy Affeldt pitched a scoreless sixth inning for Team USA against Puerto Rico on Tuesday at the World Baseball Classic in Miami. Affeldt allowed only one hit in the inning. He threw 10 pitches and faced Giants teammate Angel Pagan, inducing a flyout to right field.
• Second baseman Marco Scutaro has yet to return from playing with Venezuela at the World Baseball Classic, but manager Bruce Bochy expects him to rejoin the team Wednesday.
• Tony Abreu (strained quadriceps) also is expected to rejoin the lineup Wednesday, Bochy said.
William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.