Tim Lincecum finishes spring training with 10.57 ERA

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Whatever strides Tim Lincecum made in the playoffs haven’t carried over, as the two-time Cy Young winner followed up a terrible 2012 season by posting a 10.57 ERA in five spring training starts.

Lincecum had 16 strikeouts in 15 innings, but allowed 22 hits and eight walks on the way to 18 runs. That includes five runs in 4.2 innings yesterday, after which Lincecum told Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News: “I feel like my stuff is there. I definitely have confidence in all of it.”

Brown reports that Lincecum’s fastball topped out at 92 miles per hour yesterday, which is comparable to last season when he averaged 90.4 mph.  Back in 2007 and 2008 he averaged 94.1 mph and as recently as 2011 he averaged 92.3.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?