SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tim Lincecum threw his bullpen session Sunday with such freedom that he reminded Giants manager Bruce Bochy of a galloping thoroughbred.
"It's like taking a horse out of the barn," Bochy said. "He just goes."
In Lincecum's case, he escaped not a barn, but a warehouse.
Lincecum said that he rented a small warehouse in Seattle, his offseason home, to maximize benefits from his throwing. He draped netting, filled a bucket with baseballs, installed an artificial mound and enlisted friends to catch. "Getting the feel of the mound under me" was one objective, he added. Given Seattle's inclement weather, an indoor facility -- even a makeshift one -- was ideal for Lincecum.
The right-hander hopes the momentum from his jump-start will result in a successful spring. Lincecum typically struggles in Cactus League competition. He has never recorded an exhibition ERA below 4.00 -- including last spring, when his 10.57 ERA was a personal worst.
Of course, none of these games count. Lincecum said that he indeed wants to perform well enough in the Cactus League to avoid entering the regular season "with a question mark and hoping." He added that consistently steering his pitches toward the lower end of the strike zone will satisfy him.
Bochy wants long-relief option on roster
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Manager Bruce Bochy confirmed the assumption that the Giants' season-opening pitching staff will include at least one long reliever.
"Whoever's our best fit," Bochy said Sunday.
Leading candidates for this role include left-hander David Huff and right-hander Yusmeiro Petit. In 44 career starts, Petit is 13-18 with a 4.91 ERA, including his 4-1 finish with the Giants last year. His totals are marginally better than Huff's figures as a starter (17-27, 5.57 in 54 starts).
Until last year, the Giants' starting rotation was so consistent and effective that keeping a long reliever was mostly unnecessary. Guillermo Mota occupied the role on the rare occasions when multiple innings had to be consumed.
Hudson encouraged by first spring session
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Right-hander Tim Hudson encountered virtually no discomfort in his almost-mended right ankle Sunday as he threw his first bullpen session of the spring.
Hudson admitted feeling effects of last July's fracture when he moved side to side. "But on the mound, I don't think about it at all," he said.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that Hudson's pitching motion looked "smooth and easy."
Hudson reiterated that he remains in less than ideal shape physically. He'll remain on a slightly restricted training schedule for another couple of weeks. Then, Bochy said, Hudson should be able to participate in all drills.
"Obviously there are still some things we need to make some strides in, as far as my agility and conditioning," he said. "But I feel pretty close to where I normally am, from a pitching standpoint."