There was a Tim Lincecum sighting last night! But then he went away again.

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Tim Lincecum hadn’t pitched in nearly a month. He was, without question, the forgotten man on the San Francisco Giants. But then, last night, he got his chance. Mop-up duty. And he did OK in that role. An inning and two-thirds. Struck out a couple of guys. Didn’t allow any base runners.

It ended on a down note, though, with the two-time Cy Young Award winner having to leave with back stiffness after a couple of wonky pitches, including one that came close to plunking Sal Perez. After the game he and Bruce Bochy said he’d probably be OK. It’s possible that Lincecum, if he is OK, could be the righty that Bochy calls on in situations where he might’ve called on Hunter Strickland before his meltdown last night.

Whatever the case, I’ll always be fascinated by the guy once known as The Freak. A rare, elite pitcher who suddenly lost it despite not, apparently, suffering any major injury. A guy who just became ordinary overnight.

Giants sign Darin Ruf to minor league contract

Darin Ruf
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The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports that the Giants have signed 1B/OF Darin Ruf to a minor league contract.

Ruf, 33, played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Phillies from 2012-16, enjoying occasional offensive success. He spent the last three seasons in the KBO League in South Korea with the Samsung Lions, reigniting his career. Ruf hit an aggregate .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs and 350 RBI over 1,756 plate appearances.

Ruf joins an ever-increasing list of players whose major league careers fizzled out, then found new life overseas — Eric Thames and Miles Mikolas are a couple of examples. Ruf will hope to prove himself as a big leaguer once more in spring training with the Giants.