Lincecum's velocity is down and it probably doesn't matter

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Yahoo!’s Tim Brown has a feature on Tim Lincecum, the central part of which is Lincecum’s diminishing velocity, which has gone from mid-90s in his rookie year to a consistent 93 mph in 2008 and down to 91-92 last season, at least according to pitching coach Dave Righetti:

“I’m aware my velocity wasn’t where it was,” he said. “I don’t feel
like it’s anything to be scared about. I’ll just learn how to pitch
better.”

Whether he’s pitching at 91, 94 or 98, he said, “I’m not sure it’s a
choice. You go out there with what you have. I’m still going out there
with the same kind of confidence.”

Of course over that time his strikeout rate, WHIP, ERA, K/BB ratio, and home run rate have improved so it’s not like anyone is worried.

The scariest thing about Tim Lincecum? He’s right about the age where Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez took a step forward and transformed from really good pitchers with awesome tools to otherwordly pitchers who had awesome tools and truly understood the game of pitching.

Royals to sign Billy Hamilton

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LAS VEGAS — Jim Bowden reports that the Kansas City Royals are close to agreement with outfielder Billy Hamilton. He says they are “just working through bonuses and pending physical.” Hamilton was non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds a couple of weeks ago following six seasons with the club, making him a free agent.

Hamilton is one of the fastest men to ever play the game, but he has never come around as a hitter. In his six seasons with the Reds he put up a line of .245/.298/.333 (OPS+ 70). While he has stolen 277 bases over that period, getting caught 63 times, he has never once led the league in steals, primarily because he just doesn’t get on base enough. He is an excellent center fielder, but the bat is so sub-par that even the glove and the wheels are not good enough to justify going to arbitration with him.

Perhaps a change of scenery will do him good. He will certainly bring some excitement to Kansas City. He’s a fun guy to watch play.