Giants leaning towards starting Tim Lincecum in Game 4

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The Giants’ Tim Lincecum said he was ready to pitch in relief tonight after throwing two scoreless innings in Sunday’s Game 1 against the Cardinals. However, it appears to be manager Bruce Bochy’s strong preference to reserve him for the Game 4 start, according to CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly.

“We’d like to have that option if we decide to go that way,” Bochy said. “We’ll do all we can to win this one. And we also have Barry Zito if we use Timmy.”

Of course, Zito could still get his start later on. Bochy appears to be weighing using him over the struggling Madison Bumgarner in Game 5.

Asked if he would pick Zito over Bumgarner, Bochy hedged, saying that “it’s still a decision.”

If Lincecum gets the start in Thursday’s Game 4, it would be his first since Sept. 30. He’s allowed one run in 8 1/3 innings during his three postseason relief appearances.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.