Tim Lincecum misses celebration, scratched from start

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The Giants celebrated their second National League West title in three years on Saturday night at AT&T Park without a certain eccentric right-hander.

According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, Tim Lincecum was sent home early so that he could rest up for his scheduled Sunday start. Once the Giants clinched with an 8-4 victory over the Padres, manager Bruce Bochy called him back to join in on the fun and told Yusmeiro Petit that he’d be taking the bump in the series finale. But Timmy was unable to return to the stadium because of congestion on the streets of San Francisco.

Which, as Baggarly explains, is highly unfortunate:

Two years ago, Tim Lincecum was a holy terror to anyone with a hot microphone in a champagne-soaked clubhouse. He snuck enough four-letter words on the air to make the FCC blush.

But Saturday night, as the Giants celebrated another NL West title, Lincecum was nowhere to be found.

The 28-year-old has bounced back nicely from a dismal second half, boasting a 3.06 ERA and 79/34 K/BB ratio in 79 1/3 innings since the All-Star break. He’ll take his next turn in the rotation later this week.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.

Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”

Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.

The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.