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Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

March 6, 2011 at 1:51 PM

Lincecum has his strikeout pitch working against Mariners

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(The view from the outfield at Scottsdale Stadium today as Tim Lincecum warms up for the second inning)

I flew into Phoenix today and headed straight to Scottsdale Stadium just in time to watch Tim Lincecum’s final 2 2/3 innings of a 3 2/3-inning outing against the Mariners. He threw about 60 pitches, struck out seven, walked three, and blanked the M’s on three hits (one of which was a broken-bat blooper by Ryan Langerhans).

It was the second straight strong outing for Lincecum after opening up the Cactus League by giving up five hits and three runs in 1 2/3 innings against Arizona. His last time out, he held the Cubs without a baserunner over three innings. He’ll have about four more outings before stepping to the mound at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day.

Lincecum, who had his streak of Cy Young awards snapped at two last year — but compensated happily with a World Series title — said he’s ahead of past years in spring.

“I feel better, because I think I came in better prepared this year,” he said. “Obviously, the result (in spring) hasn’t been there in the last couple of years, and right now it’s getting a little better except in the first outing. I’m going by how my body feels, and I feel good.”

Against the Mariners, Lincecum said he had his changeup working well, but that his fastball “was not very good. Other than that, I didn’t really throw that much….My rhythm kind of went in and out between innings. Other than that, I felt fine. My body felt fine. It’s good to get my pitch count up, and just continue to add onto it. Get my body in shape for the rest of the season.”

Lincecum had a rare opportunity to strike out four in the fourth inning when strike three on Jack Cust got away from catcher Buster Posey, allowing Cust to reach first. He struck out two more and had two strikes on Josh Bard before walking him. Giants manager Bruce Bochy pulled him at that point.

When it was pointed out to Lincecum he could have whiffed four that inning, Lincecum said, “But I didn’t. So I guess there’s nothing really to talk about.”

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