Tim Lincecum hit in knee by liner, X-rays come back negative

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The Giants were given quite a scare last night when right-hander Tim Lincecum was hit in the inside of his left knee by a line drive off the bat of Athletics first baseman Daric Barton in the fourth inning and had to be helped off the field. However, it appears that things could have been much worse.

Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that Lincecum was left with a contusion on his knee, but X-rays ruled out a fracture or any major structural damage. We’ll know a lot more about his status after he arrives to the ballpark today, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy expressed optimism about his ability to make his season debut next Thursday against the Diamondbacks. If he’s unable to go, Yusmeiro Petit would fill in.

Lincecum, who signed a two-year, $35 million extension with the Giants in October, is coming off a 4.37 ERA and 193/76 K/BB ratio over 197 2/3 innings last season.