Free-agent right-hander Tim Lincecum has built up his endurance to the point where he’s throwing 70 pitches on the time frame of a five-man rotation, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (links to Twitter). Lincecum recently threw at the Giants’ Spring Training complex in Arizona, Heyman notes, adding that Lincecum has also pitched “a few other places.” That bit of into shouldn’t necessarily be construed as a workout for the Giants, as Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that Lincecum has been granted use of the Giants’ facility more as a courtesy than anything else. Heyman notes that a Lincecum showcase is “expected soon,” though it should be noted that that’s been the steady refrain out of the Lincecum camp for the better part of three months. Lincecum is one of the more intriguing unsigned names in baseball, but there’s no way of truly classifying a front-runner to sign him and no way of knowing when he’s likely to get back onto a big league mound until he auditions for teams. For now, Schulman notes, Lincecum’s representatives are going out of their way to keep scouts away from his throwing sessions until he’s ready for that showcase.
More from the NL West…
- Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke won’t be cleared for baseball activities until next week, tweets Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times, and he could miss as much as another month with the back problem that has kept him from game action since April 10. Van Slyke hit the DL a bit more than a week ago after making just 10 plate appearances this season. He’s the latest in a slew of Dodgers outfielders to be shelved, as both Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford are on the DL as well. (Crawford, though, was sent on a minor league rehab assignment today.)
- In light of Trevor Story’s outstanding start to the season, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs explores the legitimacy of his power using exit velocity and launch angle. Cameron and Baseball Prospectus’ Russell Carleton have pointed out that while bottom-line results in this type of a sample size are often mirages, batted ball trends such as these take less time to stabilize. Story leads the league in balls hit at 105+ mph with a launch angle of greater than 20 degrees, and while he’s not likely to continue to hit them at such a prolific rate, Cameron writes that it’s unlikely that Story has lucked his way into this type of company on the leaderboards. Acknowledging Story’s enormous strikeout rate and likely dip in overall production, Cameron concludes that while this overall type of production won’t continue, there’s a case to be made that Story’s power is realer than some skeptics believe.
- The Giants optioned right-hander Chris Heston to Triple-A yesterday, and Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News spoke to manager Bruce Bochy about the difficulty of the move for Heston, who of course tossed a no-hitter for the Giants last season. Heston went from the 2015 rotation to a long relief role with San Francisco this season, and the Giants will hope that stint in the Triple-A rotation can help get his mechanics back on track. “It’s never easy, making a move like this,” said Bochy. “The best thing is for Chris to get his groove back.” Baggarly notes that part of the reason for stretching Heston out is also to shield the Giants in case of a sudden need in the rotation. It’s worth noting that Matt Cain and Jake Peavy have each struggled tremendously in their first three starts of the season.