SAN DIEGO -- Bruce Bochy kept in touch with Tim Lincecum during the long rehab process, and he texted his former ace after a showcase earlier this month.
"I told him it was good to see him on the mound throwing again," Bochy said Tuesday. "It's been a long road for him. Good for him."
That was the theme Tuesday, as players and coaches reacted to Monday's news that No. 55 will trade orange and black for Angels red. Lincecum's deal with the Angels -- expected to be a one-year pact -- is not official, but reportedly is close to being announced. The Giants had talked to Lincecum, who is coming off hip surgery, about returning as a reliever, but he wanted to start and the Angels are giving him that opportunity.
"That's awesome," shortstop Brandon Crawford said. "That's what I was hoping when I heard he was doing a showcase and felt good. I wanted him to have a chance to start. That's what he wanted. I loved having Timmy as a teammate, and I want whatever he wants. That was to start, and he's getting that chance."
The scuffling Angels hope to catch lightning in a bottle, and Matt Cain -- Lincecum's teammate for nine seasons -- said that might not be such a long shot.
"I don't see why not. He's always had a live arm, and if his body is feeling good that'll definitely help him out," Cain said. "I'm excited for him. It's good to see him back feeling good and healthy. It'll be nice to see Timmy back out there."
Cain, in a way, helped the Giants double down on their belief that Lincecum could best help them as a reliever. The showcase, which went well, happened with Cain and Jake Peavy struggling mightily. Since that event a little over a week ago, the two veteran right-handers have turned it up several notches.
While most Giants mentioned Lincecum's 14-strikeout shutout of the Braves as the memory that stands out the most, Cain pivoted to another start.
"The first game I got to see him against the Phillies," Cain said. "He's out there looking just like Billy the Kid when he shows up. Like, yep, there he is. But he comes in throwing 98-99 mph, and he had nasty (breaking) stuff."
Lincecum struggled in that 2007 debut, but the years that followed will be remembered forever in San Francisco. Lincecum won two consecutive Cy Young Awards, made four All-Star teams, and contributed to three championship clubs as a starter and reliever.
"It was definitely fun to be able to follow him in the rotation," Cain said. "He made a lot of hitters look pretty bad for a long time."
The Giants, to a man it seems, are hoping that version of Lincecum shows up at Angel Stadium. The two teams won't face each other this season unless both make the World Series.
"Everybody on the team will be pulling for him," Bochy said. "The staff, myself, the organization. We can't thank him enough for what he did for us."