PHOENIX – Tim Lincecum scaled four dugout stairs in one leap as he took the field for pregame stretch on Opening Day.
That’s one way to tell his bruised knee won’t keep him from taking the ball on Thursday. Lincecum told me he was continuing to get treatment on the inside of his left knee, which was struck by a line drive in Saturday’s exhibition against the A’s. But he’s good to throw off a bullpen mound Tuesday in preparation for his season debut.
[REWIND: Outlook brightens for Lincecum]
Jeremy Affeldt is making progress, too. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Affeldt, who has a sprained right knee ligament, is throwing and should be ready to come off the disabled list April 9, when the club plays its second home game.
As for Marco Scutaro, there’s very little to pass along. He hasn’t played in any minor league camp games since last Wednesday, when the Giants went north. Eventually, he’ll begin a minor league rehab assignment to gauge his ability to play nine innings on back-to-back days. But he’s not at that stage now, and there’s no way to tell when he might be.
It’s otherwise quiet here at Chase Field as first pitch approaches. I’ve never covered a season opener when one of the teams is already 0-2. The Diamondbacks will have to solve Madison Bumgarner to prevent falling to 0-3, and given the way he looked all spring, that won’t be an easy assignment.
One thing to pass along regarding the lineup: Bochy was asked about Pablo Sandoval as his No. 3 hitter, and the resulting glut of right-handed bats (Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Michael Morse) in the 4-5-6 spots.
“They’re three good right-handed hitters,” Bochy said. “They are not guys I plan on platooning. And at the top of the order, we’re balanced pretty good.”
A reminder: Bochy plans to move down Brandon Belt from the No. 2 spot against lefty starters, with Hunter Pence hitting second. Expect to see that alignment Tuesday, when lefty Wade Miley starts for Arizona. And you'll see it again Friday at Dodger Stadium for the opener of the series there ... for Hyun-Jin Ryu, not Clayton Kershaw, who is on the disabled list and won't face the Giants in that first rivalry visit.