SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum can relate to Stephen Strasburg's sudden inactivity, though their backgrounds are entirely different.
In Lincecum's 2007 rookie year, the Giants shut him down in mid-September after his innings total climbed to 177 1/3. That figure included five early-season starts at Triple-A. Lincecum was 23 at the time.
Of course, Lincecum never underwent Tommy John elbow surgery as did Strasburg, 24. Nor were the Giants bound for the postseason -- as Strasburg's Washington Nationals seemingly are, which accounts for much of the fuss regarding the right-hander's removal from the rotation. Strasburg's medical history prompted the Nationals to excuse him from further competition after he accumulated 159 1/3 innings, up from 24 innings in 2011.
"They shut me down because they thought the stress of the longer season on me might affect me the year after," Lincecum said Sunday. "Obviously, they played it right."
Obviously. Lincecum finished 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA and a league-high 265 strikeouts in 2008 to win his first of two National League Cy Young Awards.