The more distance he logs from 2012, the more forthcoming Tim Lincecum becomes about how bad he felt mentally, physically and mechanically, struggles that began in spring training and did not vanish until late in the year.
Honesty becomes easier not only with time, but improvement. Despite allowing three of the eight Dodgers he faced to score in his Cactus League debut Tuesday, Lincecum said he feels markedly better than a year ago.
"Last spring, it was all about trying to make something out of nothing," he said after the game ended in an 8-8 tie. "I didn't have the strength or the mechanical will to throw balls where I wanted to because I couldn't sustain them. Now, the question isn't whether I'm going to throw strikes but where I'm going to throw strikes. It felt good."
Lincecum threw 22 strikes and 16 balls in 1 1/3 innings. He went to full counts on four of his eight hitters and allowed three runs, two on a hanging slider that Jeremy Moore whacked for a two-run double on Lincecum's final pitch.
Some rustiness was understandable because Lincecum was facing hitters for the first time since the World Series. Pitchers rarely enter spring games without first throwing batting practice to teammates. The only live batting practice that Lincecum was scheduled to throw was rained out.
But on Tuesday, his fastball looked lively, touching 93 mph. He got five swings and misses, three by Andre Ethier for his lone strikeout.
Manager Bruce Bochy was satisfied.
"I think Timmy threw the ball well," he said. "He had a good rhythm. Pitching out of the stretch, he looked comfortable. He had good stuff today. Obviously, he got out of sync last year. He knows it. He worked hard cleaning it up a little bit."
Lincecum told Bochy he was happy with the outing, then told reporters.


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