3/7/2014 6:45 P.M. ET
Scutaro still a few days away from spring debut
By AJ Cassavell / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro is still at least a few days away from his first appearance of the spring. The 38-year-old has made -- in manager Bruce Bochy's words -- "slow progress" in his return from an ailing back.
Scutaro has started taking soft toss, but he likely won't be ready for live batting practice until sometime next week.
"He's taken some swings, so he's gradually coming around," Bochy said. "We still have time. If you ask me at the end of next week, and he's not playing or very close to playing, we're certainly going to have to have another plan."
As for now, the plan is for Scutaro to get 30-35 at-bats in Spring Training before he can be ready for the regular season. To go along with back trouble last season, Scutaro also dealt with neck pain and a surgical insertion of a pin in his left pinkie finger. But those injuries are no longer bothering him.
If Scutaro's back continues to bark, one option at second base is Ehire Adrianza, one of the club's most impressive players this spring. Adrianza, a shortstop, hadn't played second base since rookie ball in 2006. He played three innings there on Friday, but didn't see any action.
Effective Lincecum pleased with latest outing
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals hitters made plenty of contact against Giants ace Tim Lincecum in his three innings on Friday afternoon.
None of it was the good kind -- and that's all that matters to Lincecum.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner needed just 35 pitches (26 of them strikes) to get through the three frames, an efficient outing that he hopes typifies his 2014 season. Lincecum allowed two hits and did not record a strikeout or a walk.
"I had a few swings and misses here, which is something I'm looking for," Lincecum said. "It would have been nice to get them on the third strike, ... but outs are outs, and hopefully I'll be able to turn those into strikeouts later."
Lincecum's fastball velocity stayed around 90 mph for most of the game -- a number he expects to increase as camp goes on. Still, velocity isn't at the top of Lincecum's spring checklist.
"I'm hoping it will [increase], just as I get my arm strength up and as I get extended a little more and get a feel for myself on the mound during a game-time atmosphere," Lincecum said. "I'm not really too worried about trying to get it up, or where it's at. It's all about placement, and I know if I just set my sights low [in the zone], I'm better off."
Lincecum said there has been a noticeable difference in his command when he has fallen behind in the count this spring. He has been effective within the strike zone, inducing weaker contact.
Lincecum pointed to a return in confidence, related to his offseason regimen, which was much more intense than in past winters.
"I did all the work, I put in the time that I needed to this offseason, which leaves me in a better mental state when I go out there," Lincecum said. "I'm not wondering if it's a mechanical issue, and if it is a mechanical issue, I can fix it quickly."
Lincecum's outing Friday continued a dominant trend for the Giants' staff. In 21 Cactus League innings, San Francisco starters have allowed only four runs -- three of them earned. The projected starting five has tossed 23 frames and allowed just one run.
Future Giants stars to appear in games Sunday
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Giants' youth will be on full display in their two games Sunday, as three pitchers age 24 or younger will make a start.
When the split-squad Giants take on the "Giants Futures" in Scottsdale, 21-year-old top prospect Kyle Crick gets the ball for the futures squad. Madison Bumgarner -- at 24 rarely the elder statesman anywhere -- will start for the Giants' half that doesn't make the trip to Glendale.
Twenty-one-year-old left-hander Edwin Escobar takes the hill against the Dodgers in Glendale to complete the trifecta of youngsters.
Also expected to play for the "Futures" team on Sunday are left-hander Ty Blach, right-hander Clayton Blackburn, second baseman Joe Panik, catcher Andrew Susac and outfielder Gary Brown.
After the game, the Giants will host a postgame concert featuring Kelley James on the outfield berm.
• Bochy liked what he saw in one scoreless inning from right-hander Derek Law, a ninth-round pick of the Giants in the 2011 Draft.
"He looked really sharp -- good velocity, good breaking ball," Bochy said. "This kid's coming off a good Fall League, and he came in in good shape, ready, and he had a nice inning."
• First baseman Mark Minicozzi continued to impress, launching his second homer of the spring and adding a pair of backhanded gems on defense. The 31-year-old journeyman first baseman is now hitting .429 with an .857 slugging percentage in seven games.
"He's accumulated a lot of at bats -- they might not be in the Major Leagues, but these guys learn down there, and he's a smart hitter," Bochy said. "He uses the whole field well, and what you like about him is he's aggressive in the zone. He gets after it, and he's certainly making a lot of noise here early."