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.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.