ST. LOUIS -- The Giants would first have to get there, obviously. But manager Bruce Bochy has indicated that Game 4 starter Tim Lincecum would be able to bounce back in time to resume his relief chores if there is a Game 6 in the National League Championship Series.

NLCS

If the Giants return the NLCS to San Francisco with a win in Friday night's Game 5, the next game would be in AT&T Park on Sunday -- giving Lincecum two days' rest after going 4 2/3 innings in Thursday's 8-3 loss.

Bochy, in fact, thought Lincecum would've been ready to go Saturday, were that a game day.

"I think just a day off is all he needs, and [the schedule] would give him two days off," Bochy said a couple of hours prior to Friday's game. "So he would be available. If we could get this [Game 5], he'd be available for Game 6.

"He's resilient, and he didn't throw all that many pitches."

Lincecum made 91 pitches in what had been his first start in the postseason, his first in 2 1/2 weeks.

Bochy would love the opportunity to again wave him in from the bullpen -- primarily because it would mean there is a Game 6, but also because the erstwhile starter has lit it up out of the bullpen in three postseason appearances, allowing only three hits and one run while fanning nine in 8 1/3 innings.

Giants revert to usual batting order for Game 5

ST. LOUIS -- After a one-day experiment, Giants manager Bruce Bochy resumed using the batting order he typically employed this season against right-handed starting pitchers.

Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey returned to the third and fourth spots, respectively, for Friday's Game 5 of the National League Championship Series against St. Louis. They reversed roles in Game 4, which San Francisco lost, 8-3. Also, Hunter Pence reclaimed the No. 5 position in the order after hitting sixth Thursday.

Entering the game with the Giants trailing 3-1 in the series, Bochy explained that he wanted to implement the strategy that brought the team this far.

Moreover, Bochy said, "We didn't create many chances yesterday. At least in Game 3, we had our chances."

The Giants stranded 11 runners and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position in their 3-1 Game 3 defeat. In Game 4, they left three runners on base and went 1-for-5 with men in scoring position.

Wilson has first post-surgery catch session

ST. LOUIS -- An exultant Brian Wilson tested his arm for the first time since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery in April by playing catch Friday.

Wilson, who exchanged about 40 throws from roughly 25 feet with bullpen catcher Bill Hayes at Busch Stadium, reiterated that he expects to be physically ready for the 2013 season.

"I should be 100 percent in Spring Training," Wilson said.

Attempting to overcome his second Tommy John procedure, which he also underwent in 2003, Wilson said that he felt "like a kid at recess. I just got to play catch for the first time. Sometimes you overlook the tiny little perks of baseball, and one of them is playing catch. You take that for granted. That's all we do all day. But when you have six months of not being able to do it, you get excited and you just let out a huge grin."

Wilson said that he'll maintain a "pretty modest" throwing program for at least one month, making tosses every three days or so.

Wilson, who missed most of this season after leading the Majors with 163 saves from 2008-2011, said that he hasn't dwelled on whether he'll regain his closer's role. Without Wilson, the Giants initially replaced him with Santiago Casilla, who converted 19 of his first 21 save opportunities before slumping. Manager Bruce Bochy began relying on a closer-by-committee approach during the season's second half, with Sergio Romo receiving most of the opportunities.

"I'm not going to speculate or insinuate anything, but I'm being paid to be me and I'm going to be me on Opening Day," said Wilson, who earned $8.5 million this year and is eligible for salary arbitration. "I think Bochy's done an incredible job with the bullpen this year and the guys in the bullpen have done a great job as well. Next year, we'll see what happens."

Wilson fielded a question about his famed beard, which almost has grown to the size of home plate.

"At this point, I understand it's completely ridiculous. And I'm totally OK with that. And I also do not care," he said, noting that television talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel called him the team rabbi.