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Notes: Lincecum ready for debut

Notes: Lincecum ready for debut

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's strange to hear the Bay Area buzzing about baseball players who are not named Barry Bonds, but Giants fans are sounding excited about the Major League debut of Triple-A top prospect Tim Lincecum.

Lincecum is expected to get the start on Sunday against the Phillies in place of the Giants' usual fifth starter, Russ Ortiz, who went on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday with right elbow neuritis.

It's not hard to figure out why manager Bruce Bochy picked Lincecum despite the right-hander's limited professional experience. In five starts for Fresno, Lincecum is 4-0 and holds a 0.29 ERA, allowing one run and 12 hits in 31 innings. With numbers like that, it's hard not to get caught up in the excitement.

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"I'm excited to see him, like everybody," Bochy said. "But I saw enough of this kid. He's going to be fine. It's not going to be one game that forms any judgment."

Bochy expects that Lincecum will give the Giants a quality start despite added pressure from all the hype.

"He's been around 100 pitches, so that's about where we'll keep him. We're not going to overextend this kid," Bochy said.

A 100-pitch count sounds high for a 22-year-old making his Major League debut on ESPN, but recent Triple-A teammate Kevin Frandsen said that Lincecum can handle the pressure.

"He's got some great stuff," Frandsen said. "For a defensive person, he works really fast, to the point where you're always making a play."

Lincecum coming up on Sunday will most likely mean that right-hander Scott Munter, who was recalled from Fresno on Friday, will be optioned back to make room on the roster. Munter, who didn't pitch on Friday night, is not upset about the probability of being sent back so soon.

"Whether I'm down there or up here, I'm trying to work on my pitches," Munter said.

Munter holds a 1-1 record and 2.20 ERA in 12 appearances with Fresno.

Day in and day out: Bonds, who usually sits out an afternoon game following a night game, was in the Cinco de Mayo lineup. He made the most of it, sending the first pitch he saw from Jon Lieber over the wall in center field for career homer No. 744. The home run tied Bonds with Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth for all-time runs scored, with 2,174.

Bochy waited to post Saturday's lineup until after he spoke with Bonds to make sure the 42-year-old felt up to playing. Bonds in Saturday's lineup may mean that he'll get Sunday's game off, but Bochy said he will check with Bonds before making any decisions.

Friday's game marked the first time this season that Bonds was intentionally walked with the bases empty. The move was part of what ended up a three-run eighth inning for the Giants, posing the question once again: Is it even worth it to walk Bonds?

"Walking Barry is not always advantageous, because you are putting a guy on base. If they like to do it, then it's up to us do something about it," Bochy said.

The Giants have already done something about it this season. Twenty percent of the Giants' runs this year have scored after a Bonds walk.

Friday's walk robbed Bonds of the at-bat he needed to tie Larry Doyle for sixth on the franchise list, with 5,995, but he got it with his homer off Lieber.

Los Gigantes: In honor of Carnaval Day and Cinco de Mayo, the Giants wore jerseys reading "Gigantes" for Saturday's game. There was also a Carnaval Parade with more than 300 dancers, many colorful costumes and accompanying drummers before the game.

Sweeney in a pinch: Mark Sweeney's single in the eighth inning of Friday night's game was his 144th career pinch-hit, giving him sole possession of fourth place on the all-time list, ahead of Greg Gross. Sweeney needs one more to tie Smokey Burgess for third.

"Sweeney is one of the best. Getting a quality at-bat coming off the bench is not an easy job, but he's very good at it and thrives in that situation," Bochy said.

On deck: The Giants will close their four-game series against the Phillies at 5:05 p.m. PT on Sunday with Lincecum making his Major League debut.

Becky Regan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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