Notes: Lincecum getting groove back

Notes: Lincecum getting groove back

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The sky was gray and rain would soon fall, but it almost felt like summer to watch Tim Lincecum pitch Friday morning.

None of the Giants pitchers are throwing at full force at this juncture of Spring Training, Lincecum included. And this was only the fourth full-squad workout, so hitters lack their best timing. Nevertheless, Lincecum's dazzling assortment of deliveries enlivened an ordinary batting-practice session.

Lincecum flung two sharp-breaking curveballs to Aaron Rowand, who flailed at the first one and fouled off the next. Later, Dave Roberts lined what would have been a single to left field off a curve, but Lincecum blew a fastball by the veteran with his final pitch.

"He dug a little bit deeper on that last pitch," Roberts said.

But Lincecum didn't dig too deeply, conserving effort and his valuable right arm.

"Younger pitchers especially get overexcited because they get a hitter and they start trying to overthrow," Roberts said. "But he didn't work too quickly and still had good command. It's good to see from a young guy like that."

"That was me last year, trying to get noticed and show everybody what I've got," said Lincecum, who's beginning his second season with the Giants. "This year I feel more relaxed and more a part of the team."

The Giants ordered Lincecum not to throw off a mound during the offseason, but he seemed to be making up for lost time quickly.

"Despite not throwing a lot this winter, he's throwing the ball well," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He thought he'd be behind more."

Even at this early stage, Lincecum felt free to throw his curve -- which, he insisted, placed no additional stress on his arm.

"I'm not trying to throw too many too hard. I'm just trying to get a feel for the break," he said. "The sooner I can get working on it, the sooner it'll get better."

According to Roberts, Lincecum's fastball is close to game-ready.

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"He and [Matt] Cain both have that late life," Roberts said. "People talk about that a lot. You see the ball, and before you know it, the ball gets on you."

Short hops: Catcher Bengie Molina (strained left quadriceps) threw on an auxiliary field but did not try swinging a bat. He'll likely be restricted for another day or two. Shortstop Omar Vizquel (inflamed left knee) and infielder Rich Aurilia (strained right hamstring) participated in everything but conditioning drills for the second day in a row. ... Of all the Giants' guest instructors, Shawon Dunston's role is the least specific. While Robb Nen works with pitchers and J.T. Snow tutors first basemen, Bochy pointed out that Dunston's breadth of experience enables him to work with infielders in general, shortstops in particular, and baserunning. "He brings a lot of energy and life," Bochy said. "He has a lot of fun on the field. I know the guys enjoy being around him." ... Outfielder Fred Lewis reported to Athletes Performance Institute in January hoping to gain a few pounds. He did exactly that, bulking up to 202 pounds, compared to his 2007 Spring Training weight of 195. Then Lewis needed to have a wisdom tooth removed, forcing him to lose much of the weight he gained.

Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.