In Lincecum's case, he escaped not a barn, but a warehouse.
Lincecum said that he rented a small warehouse in Seattle, his offseason home, to maximize benefits from his throwing. He draped netting, filled a bucket with baseballs, installed an artificial mound and enlisted friends to catch. "Getting the feel of the mound under me" was one objective, he added. Given Seattle's inclement weather, an indoor facility -- even a makeshift one -- was ideal for Lincecum.
The right-hander hopes the momentum from his jump-start will result in a successful spring. Lincecum typically struggles in Cactus League competition. He has never recorded an exhibition ERA below 4.00 -- including last spring, when his 10.57 ERA was a personal worst.
Of course, none of these games count. Lincecum said that he indeed wants to perform well enough in the Cactus League to avoid entering the regular season "with a question mark and hoping." He added that consistently steering his pitches toward the lower end of the strike zone will satisfy him.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.