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Report: Tim Lincecum is not ready for retirement


Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).

Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.

While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.

Tim Lincecum accepts his assignment to Triple-A

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The Angels designated Tim Lincecum for assignment over the weekend. It was earned, as he allowed six runs in the first inning against the Mariners in his last start. He was 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA in nine starts with Los Angeles, and even a team going nowhere like the Angels are can’t afford to run that out there every few days.

Lincecum had the option of refusing an assignment to the minor leagues. If he did, he would’ve become a free agent and could’ve tried to latch on someplace else. He decided this afternoon, however, that he’s better off heading back to Salt Lake City and has accepted the Angels assignment to Triple-A.

Cosmically this may be a good thing for him as it seems pretty clear that he can’t get big leaguers out. When last he pitched for Salt Lake, back in early June, he flirted with a no-hitter and looked pretty sharp. Maybe he’ll be able to figure things out there again, maybe he won’t, but he obviously needs to work some more.

Which means this was probably the right move tactically, too. At this point it seems highly unlikely another team would take a chance on him this season. A contender doesn’t want an ineffective pitcher and a losing team is only a couple of weeks away from opening up its roster and allowing younger, team-controlled players to eat up the innings and make their auditions. If Lincecum wants to land a spring training invitation from someone next season, he’ll have to have something positive going for him heading into the winter. Three or four starts at Salt Lake could be enough to convince someone to take a chance. And heck, maybe he winds up back in Anaheim after September 1.

Tim Lincecum’s fall from multi-year Cy Young Award winner to organizational depth has been a long one. But it’s still one that is hard to get one’s mind around.

Lincecum wins in return to majors, pitches Angels past A’s

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OAKLAND, Calif. — The uniform is different. The flowing locks of shaggy brown hair that once protruded from his cap are gone. He’s lost a little zip off his fastball, too.

Even so, “The Freak” came back as a force.

Tim Lincecum made a winning return to the majors, restarting his career after nearly a year away with six sharp innings and several ovations to lead the Los Angeles Angels over the Oakland Athletics 7-1 Saturday.

“It just kind of felt like riding a bike again,” Lincecum said. “After that first inning, everything kind of went away and I could just get back to work and making my pitches.”

Sporting a bright red hat and Angels jersey that was in stark contrast to the black and orange he wore across the Bay Bridge for nine seasons with the San Francisco Giants, Lincecum gave up one run and four hits.

The four-time All-Star struck out two and walked two before leaving to a raucous ovation from the crowd of 25,078.

The 32-year-old righty hadn’t pitched in the majors since last June 27. He had hip surgery in September, signed with the Angels in May and made three starts in the minors.

Lincecum didn’t quite have the blazing fastball that he used to win back-to-back NL Cy Young Awards, but he was still strong in his debut with Los Angeles.

“It felt like my mechanics were a little erratic,” Lincecum said. “Got into some deep counts but I made pitches when I needed to and my defense made plays when we needed them to. Definitely an area when I can improve on, but happy with it.”

Lincecum retired seven straight during one stretch and got A’s slugger Khris Davis to ground into a double play after walking the leadoff batter in the fifth.

“He pitched backwards,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “He threw fastballs in breaking ball counts and breaking balls in fastball counts. We couldn’t solve him.”

Mike Trout homered, doubled and drove in three runs for the Angels. Johnny Giovatella also homered to help Los Angeles to its third win in four games.

The Angels batted around and scored five times in the sixth. Ryan Dull (1-2) lost in relief.

Lincecum was followed by television cameras and received a standing ovation from fans of both teams – and a few wearing Giants No. 55 jerseys – as he walked to the bullpen for his pregame warmups.

A second, louder ovation greeted Lincecum when he took the mound.

“It was pretty incredible, I wasn’t expecting that,” Lincecum said. “It’s nice being here close to where I started and having my Bay Area fans here. Definitely made it feel like a home game to me.”

Lincecum breezed through the first two innings, then struggled with his command in the third when Danny Valencia‘s two-out, broken-bat single on a 3-0 pitch drove in Billy Burns.

That was about the only blemish on Lincecum’s day.

After getting Davis to hit into the double play in the sixth, Lincecum retired Jed Lowrie on a fly ball to end his afternoon.

Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia stood on the top steps of the dugout and greeted Lincecum with a handshake as he came off the field to another big cheer.

“His command got a little fuzzy in the sixth … but after the first couple of pitches you could see his stuff was there,” Scioscia said. “When he needed to get into the zone, he did.”

Trout hit his tying home run leading off fourth to chase A’s starter Andrew Triggs. Two batters later, Giavotella followed with another solo shot that hit off the left field foul pole.

Triggs, who was called up from Triple-A Nashville before the game, allowed three hits with one strikeout in his first major league start.


Angels: OF Todd Cunningham was designated for assignment. … C Geovanny Soto (right lateral meniscus) was scheduled to take batting practice before the game and could begin a rehab assignment in the minors next week.

Athletics: Righty reliever Liam Hendriks (triceps strain) is expected to come off the disabled list soon. … INF Tyler Ladendorf was optioned to Triple-A Nashville.


Angels: RHP Jered Weaver (5-6) starts Sunday at the Coliseum. Weaver hasn’t made it past the sixth inning in his last four outings and is 1-3 during that stretch.

Athletics: LHP Eric Surkamp (0-4) pitches the series finale for Oakland. His 8.07 ERA is the highest in the AL and third-highest in the majors among pitchers with 25 innings or more.