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Down The Line

September 21, 2008|Bill Shaikin

Gambling with The Franchise

In the first week of the season, at Dodger Stadium, Tim Lincecum returned to the mound after a 74-minute rain delay. His arm did not fall off.

"People have called me a freak of nature before," he said that day. "Now they have another reason to call me that."

So maybe the San Francisco Giants aren't guilty of poor judgment by juggling their rotation so Lincecum can make two starts in this final week.

"I'm sure the biggest deal for them is giving me a better chance at the Cy Young," he said. "I'm fine with it. They're going off how I feel, and I feel fine."

Said Manager Bruce Bochy: "Cy Young and all that, sure. But the biggest reason is that Tim is throwing the ball so well, we want to give him two more starts."

Still, with the Giants long out of contention, they might be better off giving him no more starts. Studies have shown that young pitchers whose workload increases by more than 30 innings in one year are at increased risk of injury the next year, and Lincecum has thrown 52 innings more than he did last year.

He also leads the major leagues in pitches thrown. Of the top five in pitches thrown last season -- Carlos Zambrano, Dan Haren, Jake Peavy, Scott Kazmir and Aaron Harang -- all but Haren have been on the disabled list this season, and Haren faded badly in the second half.

"You can get caught up in the number of pitches or the number of innings," Bochy said. "That's how we're taught now. That's how guys are coming up.

"As a manager, it's tough to get through that barrier. The more you see Timmy, the more you're convinced he can handle it."

No bang for a lot of bucks

The economic news is bad all over. The Seattle Mariners could become the first team to lose 100 games with a $100-million payroll.

They traded five young players for intended ace Erik Bedard, who won six games. He'll have surgery for a torn labrum this week. Prospects for recovery are uncertain, as Jason Schmidt could tell you.

Hey, CC Sabathia: Meet Martin Brodeur

The Milwaukee Brewers fired Manager Ned Yost last week, with 12 games left, a move unprecedented among contending teams in baseball history.

But not in sports history. The New Jersey Devils fired Coach Robbie Ftorek with eight games left in the 1999-2000 season. Larry Robinson replaced Ftorek and led the Devils to the Stanley Cup.

Yes, Kings fans, we know: Robinson coached the Kings for four years and never won a playoff game.

No one wore 'Ty Cobb ----'

We bid farewell to Yankee Stadium tonight, a grand closing for the most celebrated venue in American sport. Joe Mignogna was there for the grand opening, in 1923. Babe Ruth hit a home run.

Mignogna, now 90, distinctly recalled how fans wore hats and top coats that day, then glanced around Yankee Stadium the other day.

"None of the fans here would have been let in," Mignogna said.

Check out the black-and-white pictures on display at Dodger Stadium, with fans in Brooklyn dressed in suits, in outfits scarcely different for a day at the ballpark than a night at the opera.

Casual dress is in vogue today, but one distinguished gentleman has not been swayed. He is 80, and he wears a coat and tie to the ballpark every day.

He is Vin Scully.

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