Giants general manager Bobby Evans revealed during a radio interview that Tim Lincecum has been ruled out for the remainder of the season following a setback in his recovery from a hip injury.
Evans told KNBR in San Francisco (via Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle) that Lincecum got a second opinion from a specialist and is facing surgery.
Lincecum is in the final season of his contract and Schulman writes that the injury “almost certainly signals the end of Lincecum’s career in San Francisco.”
Lincecum last pitched in late June, finishing the season with a 4.13 ERA and 60/38 K/BB ratio in 76 innings over 15 starts. His velocity, strikeout rate, and overall performance have been in decline for several years, leaving the two-time Cy Young winner looking like more of a back-of-the-rotation starter despite being just 31 years old.
He hasn’t posted an ERA below 4.00 since 2011, going 39-42 with a 4.68 ERA in 616 total innings during that time. By comparison, Lincecum had a 2.98 ERA in 1,028 innings from 2007-2011.
KNBR, citing a currently unavailable report from Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, writes that pitcher Tim Lincecum’s Giants career is likely over after he suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from hip and back injuries.
Lincecum, who has a degenerative hip condition, had cortisone shots in his hips in July, but the discomfort has persisted. As a result, the right-hander is considering off-season surgery.
“The hip issue is still there,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Sunday. “Timmy hasn’t made the progress we would have hoped. I think he’s getting another opinion, so I guess the best thing I can tell you right now is he’s not close…He feels restricted when he’s throwing.”
Lincecum, 31, has made 15 starts for the Giants this season, compiling a 4.13 ERA with a 60/38 K/BB ratio in 76 1/3 innings. He will become a free agent after the season as his two-year, $35 million contract with the Giants will expire.
Tim Lincecum hasn’t pitched since he suffered a right forearm contusion when he was hit by a comebacker on June 26, but a different issue is delaying his return to the Giants.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy told Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com that Lincecum flew to Nashville, Tennessee on Sunday to see a specialist about a hip condition which has been bothering him since the end of last season. Bochy described the issue as “degenerative,” which doesn’t sound good, but he attempted to downplay the severity of the situation.
“There’s some stuff going on there,” Bochy said. “Degenerative things, which is normal with athletes.”
The plan calls for Lincecum to rest for five days before being reevaluated. However, he obviously has some hurdles to cross before pitching in a game again.
Lincecum, 31, has a 4.13 ERA and 60/38 K/BB ratio in 76 1/3 innings across 15 start this season. He started the year strong, but struggled to the tune of a 7.53 ERA over his last seven starts and was expected to be bullpen-bound prior to landing on the disabled list.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy has stuck with Ryan Vogelsong in the rotation despite mostly poor performances in each of the past three seasons, but now Bochy is sending the 37-year-old right-hander to the bullpen.
The move comes in response to Tim Hudson’s scheduled return from the disabled list Monday and he’ll rejoin a rotation that is so well-stocked right now that Tim Lincecum is also expected to be used out of the bullpen once he returns from the disabled list.
Vogelsong has an 18-25 record and 4.52 ERA in 384 innings since 2013, which is even worse than it looks considering offense being down across baseball and the Giants having a very pitcher-friendly ballpark. However, he’s been a full-time member of San Francisco’s rotation since 2011 and is making $4 million this year.
Giants right-hander Matt Cain is off the disabled list and will make his 2015 debut today against the Marlins, returning from ankle and elbow surgeries to start for the first time in nearly one year.
Cain last started on July 9, 2014, when he was shut down with a 2-7 record and 4.18 ERA in his second straight disappointing season. He made four minor-league rehab starts–three of them at Triple-A–and posted a 4.19 ERA with a strong 19/5 K/BB ratio in 19 innings to convince the Giants he’s ready to return.
Tim Lincecum is headed to the disabled list after being hit in the arm by a line drive, clearing the path for Cain to reclaim his rotation spot. Cain is making $20 million this season and is owed $20 million in both 2016 and 2017, plus a $21 million option or $7.5 million buyout for 2018. That contract combined with his strong pre-2013 track record and Lincecum’s struggles mean the Giants are very much counting on Cain being a big contributor in the second half.