MESA, Ariz. — Tim Lincecum didn’t realize there was a “pace of play” clock in center field at Hohokam Stadium until he finished his warm-up pitches, looked back and saw red numbers flashing at him.
“I looked at the clock and was like, ‘Oh, I’ve got 54 seconds left. Do I have to use the 54 seconds?’” Lincecum said, laughing. “I remember looking at (catcher Andrew) Susac and he was like no, go ahead.”
Lincecum warms up faster than anyone and he worked quickly on the mound Tuesday, going ahead 0-2 to all four A’s batters he faced. Putting them away was a different issue, and Lincecum gave up a run in his spring debut when Ben Zobrist lined a double to center and Lincecum threw wild pitches to each of the next two batters. There was positives, though. Lincecum struck out Brett Lawrie on a darting changeup and threw an 89 mph fastball past Nate Freiman to end the inning.
Lincecum said he was pleased with his fastball command, and he went to the pitch often. It registered mostly at 89 mph on radar guns in the scouts section, with Lincecum topping out at 92.
“It’s not necessarily speed that I’m looking for, it’s the life,” he said. “Does it carry through the zone and get through the glove? I can kind of tell that by the swings they take. After the first batter, when I got a fastball by him, it was like, ‘OK, my fastball is there and it felt good.’ It gave me that confidence boost to kind of go to it even more.”
Lincecum said he tried to use the fastball as a foundation for his other pitches.
“In spring training games in the past I’ve gotten away from that and tried to throw a lot of breaking balls because those have been my bread and butter,” he said. “I figure if anything is going to help out those pitches, it’s the fastball. That’s taught to us at a really young age.”
Bochy liked what he saw on Day 1.
“I thought he had pretty good command with the fastball,” he said. “He and (Madison Bumgarner) both had good deliveries. I was pleased with how they threw."
Lincecum has a 5.75 career ERA in spring games and has often had trouble commanding the ball down here in the desert, so he was encouraged by the fact that he got ahead of hitters, even if he couldn’t put Zobrist away. Lincecum is only throwing his fastball, changeup and curveball right now, with the slider being tucked away at the moment.
“As I get more into situations, I’ll be able to kind of go to my secondary stuff and put them away quicker,” he said.