Lincecum, Sanchez expected to start Sunday

Lincecum, Sanchez expected to start Sunday

SAN DIEGO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced that Tim Lincecum "probably" will start Sunday's series finale against the San Diego Padres, temporarily keeping San Francisco's starters on regular rest.

This also means that Matt Cain, who typically follows Lincecum in the rotation, likely will start Monday at Los Angeles. That would give him his usual four days' rest before next Saturday's probable Division Series opener at AT&T Park.

However, left-hander Madison Bumgarner, Saturday's scheduled starter here and a leading candidate to start Game 2 of the Division Series, won't pitch again in the regular season unless Bochy were to use him in relief. Bochy said Friday that the possibility of staging a simulated game to keep some pitchers sharp has been discussed.

Bochy added that he'll again use Hector Sanchez at catcher with Lincecum on Sunday. This increases the likelihood that they'd form a battery in the postseason if Lincecum receives a start. Bochy explained their pairing by pointing out that Sanchez has been behind the plate for most of Lincecum's starts during the second half, when the right-hander demonstrated marked improvement.

Should Bochy stick to that logic if Barry Zito is chosen for the postseason rotation, Sanchez would catch an unusually large percentage of San Francisco's October games.

Bochy also said that he'll probably rest Buster Posey on Sunday, instead of playing him at first base while Sanchez catches, and that Brandon Belt could receive another start in left field sometime during the final five games. Belt, San Francisco's primary first baseman, started in left Thursday afternoon and looked shaky on a couple of plays. But Bochy said that Belt probably would perform more smoothly in left during a night game, when he wouldn't have to contend with challenging cloudless skies.