Must-click link: A really bad picture of Tim Lincecum leading a most excellent feature story about him

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Really, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an uglier picture of Tim Lincecum than the one at the top of this New York Times Magazine feature story about him. He looks like a cross between Anthony Kiedis and late-period Bob Dylan. I like all three of those guys, but man, it ain’t pretty.

Assuming you can get past that, however, you’ll be treated to a great feature on one of baseball’s best pitchers and arguably its most interesting. Well, great and interesting unless you’re an Indians fan and you don’t want to be reminded — again — that Lincecum would be pitching in Cleveland right now if the Tribe had offered him $600,000 more on his signing bonus in 2005.  And this is fun:

He comes from a long line of physical and athletically gifted men. His grandfather, a part-time logger, could walk up and down stairs on his hands and fistfought as a hobby.

I like those bloodlines!

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.

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Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.