Now Commenting On:

Lincecum OK after line drive pelts knee

Lincecum OK after line drive pelts knee

HOUSTON -- "The Franchise" appears safe.

Giants ace Tim Lincecum sustained a bone bruise Tuesday night when Brad Ausmus' line drive struck him on the side of his right knee during the fifth inning of San Francisco's 12-4 loss to the Houston Astros. X-rays taken at a hospital near Minute Maid Park revealed no fracture, and Lincecum was said to be walking freely upon returning to the stadium late in the game.

Whether Lincecum makes his next scheduled start Sunday at Atlanta will depend on his recovery and the results of follow-up examinations in coming days.

"It's hard to say right now," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

But center fielder Aaron Rowand had no trouble summarizing the Giants' reaction once they learned that Lincecum, a National League All-Star and the Major League leader in strikeouts with 182, wasn't seriously injured.

"We're all very relieved that it's just a bone bruise," Rowand said. "We all care about him, not only as a teammate but as a person, too. He got lucky. I've seen people get hit in the chest and miss the rest of the year with blood clots and all kinds of stuff. I told him that there were a lot of worse places he could have gotten hit -- pitching hand, pitching elbow, shoulder, face, you name it."

"Concern was there, and you're hoping for the best," Bochy said. "There's not a lot of meat on those bones."

Leading off Houston's fifth, Ausmus smashed a 3-1 pitch up the middle. The ball caromed off Lincecum's knee so hard that first baseman John Bowker easily recorded the putout. Meanwhile, Lincecum crumpled to the ground and rolled head over heels in pain.

Bochy said that the impact of Ausmus' drive briefly "paralyzed" Lincecum. The right-hander tried to stand but limped off the field to the clubhouse, ushered by head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner. Lincecum was not available for comment after the game.

It had been a typical performance for Lincecum until Ausmus batted. Lincecum allowed one hit and struck out seven. Houston scored a pair of tainted runs off Lincecum in the third inning. A Darin Erstad double that left fielder Fred Lewis struggled to corral and a fielding error by second baseman Emmanuel Burriss accounted for the scoring.

Lincecum also scored from first base on Randy Winn's two-out double in the fourth inning. Despite that all-out sprint, Lincecum had enough energy to strike out the side in the bottom of the fourth.

The Astros' admiration for Lincecum was as obvious as their regard for his health.

"You don't want the kid to be injured, because that's an awfully talented young man," manager Cecil Cooper said.

"I hope he's all right," said right-hander Roy Oswalt. "He's a great competitor, and I like the way he goes about his business."

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

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español