After three minor league starts, via the Los Angeles Angels Triple-A affiliate Salt Lake Bees, longtime Halo’s skipper Mike Scioscia says Tim Lincecum is “definitely ready” to join the team this weekend against the Oakland Athletics.
Linceum, the former two-time Cy Young award winner and three-time World Series champion, is fully recovered from a hip surgery he underwent last September and signed a one year $2.5 million contract with the Angels back in May.
In those three previously mentioned minor league outings, Lincecum posted a 2.65 ERA, 19 SO, and six walks in 17 innings of work.
His best performance came this past Sunday against the Fresno Grizzlies, the Triple-A affiliate whom Lincecum pitched with before being called up to the San Francisco Giants back in 2007.
“The Freak” took a no-hitter bid into the seventh inning, struck out eight Grizzlies, needed only 89 pitches to get 21 outs, and finished the day with a one-hitter performance. Fresno, however, still managed to win the contest with a final score of 1-0.
After Sundays game Lincecum had the following to say: (quotes courtesy of MiLB.com’s Michael Avallone)
These fans have been always good to me,” Lincecum said. “I try to return that. I don’t take it for granted. It’s pretty crazy. The baseball community is big here. There’s a lot of following obviously for San Francisco. It’s pretty great. It’s just fun to have that kind of support out here when I’m trying to remake myself.”
“It’s a little different,” he said. “I’m in a different place. I’m not trying to make my path anymore, I’m trying to re-create it. I feel like the three starts I had definitely got me ready.”
“I just need to throw more strikes,” he said after his first start on June 2. “My stuff showed that I can play and I can get outs in the zone. As long as I stay there, that’s going to benefit me the most. I know you get in trouble when you get behind in counts, you put guys on base. I know I’ve been able to get out of situations like that, but you try to limit those situations so you can go deeper into games. That’s what I’m looking for.
Lincecum is understandably eager to make his first start on a major league mound in almost a year ( last start was June 27th, 2015 with San-Fran), and the Angels are equally excited to have a healthy hurler for a change.
To date, the Halos have Ace Garrett Richards (right elbow, UCL) and lefty Andrew Heaney (left elbow, UCL) on the 60-day disabled list (both may not return this season), Nick Tropeano (right shoulder) on the 15-day disabled list, and both C.J. Wilson (left shoulder) and Joe Smith (left hamstring) listed as TBD for possible return this season.
The Angels current starters are composed of longtime staff member Jered Weaver, followed by Matt Shoemaker, Hector Santiago, and Jhoulys Chacin (with Lincecum becoming the fifth starter to round out the rotation).
Per Y! Sports and MLB.com, Lincecum is scheduled to start this Saturday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. EST (1:05 p.m. PDT), in the middle of a three game series with the A’s (as mentioned at the top of this post), opposite Oakland starter Sean Manaea (2-4/6.02 ERA/40 SO) at the Coliseum.
Prior to his hip surgery that brought last season, and his time with the Giants, to a close, Lincecum had been declining. From 2012-2015 he posted a win loss record of 39-42 with an average ERA of 4.60.
Nevertheless, it would appear “The Freak” is ready to try and “re-create himself” as a Halo starting this weekend.
Given last year’s resurgence of Bartolo Colon (New York Mets) and Scott Kazmir (Los Angeles Dodgers), Lincecum could become this seasons feel good story, and provide the kind of stability the Angels so desperately need.
Of course, as with most things, only time will tell.