The baseball world understood the impact Tim Lincecum could make out of the bullpen in the Giants' Game 4 victory Wednesday night.

But for one of his teammates, it was nothing he hadn't seen before.

"This isn't the first time I've played with Timmy as a reliever," said right-hander George Kontos, who left two baserunners in the fourth inning that Lincecum cleaned up on the way to 4 1/3 brilliant innings in the Giants' 8-3 victory.

Kontos and Lincecum were teammates with Harwich in the Cape Cod League. Lincecum was a junior at the University of Washington trying his hand as a closer, mostly for the benefit of scouts. Kontos was at Northwestern, building up innings as a starter.

"I've seen how dominant he was," Kontos said. "He was nasty. Throwing triple digits, punching people out.

"I was a starter and I was third in the league in strikeouts. And he finished fourth, one behind me, as a reliever. It tells you what kind of stuff he had."

Lincecum went back to starting at Washington on his way to a Golden Spikes Award and the 10th overall pick in the draft. The Giants had an eye toward making Lincecum a potentially dominant short reliever if he didn't prove durable enough as a starting pitcher.

It's still an option that could be entertained down the line. More than one scout has mused of a day when Lincecum takes the career path of a Dennis Eckersley or John Smoltz.