Two-time NL Cy Young winner and Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum shed his… (Alex Pavlovic / Associated…)
Who is this man, and what has he done with Tim Lincecum?
“You know, when I first saw him, I didn't recognize him to be honest with you,'' Giants Manager Bruce Bochy told the Associated Press on Friday.
The Giants pitcher and two-time NL Cy Young winner shed his shaggy hair for a clean-cut look, but it doesn't stop there. He’s also put on 10 pounds during off-season workouts.
Instead of “The Freak,” maybe we should call him "The Professional."
Last year, Lincecum had one of the worst seasons of his six-year career, going 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA and 190 strikeouts in 33 starts over 186 innings.
During the postseason, Lincecum was primarily relegated to the bullpen during the Giants’ World Series run. He made one start in the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals in which he struck out three batters and gave up four runs before he was pulled in the fifth inning.
However, in five relief appearances, Lincecum threw 17 strikeouts and allowed one earned run over 13 innings.
''I took it for what it was. It wasn't a position that I was necessarily 100% familiar with, but I just wanted to help the team,'' Lincecum said. ''Right now, my perspective isn't to be in the bullpen. My perspective is, I want to be a starter and I want to get back to that elite status that I was at.''
With a new look and maybe a little more maturity, Lincecum is set to report with pitchers and catchers to spring training in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Tuesday.
“In the years past I kind of used spring as work, just to get my work in, and if things go south, no big deal,” Lincecum said. “But now it's like I've got to prove myself. That game is just the same as it is when we're playing during the season.”
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The Associated Press contributed to this report