GLENDALE, Ariz. — The huge smile on Tim Lincecum's face told a different story than the numbers in the scorebook.
Lincecum was charged with three runs in 1? innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, but said he was pleased with the way he felt physically and mechanically.
"It's just a good sign to feel like the ball is coming out of your hand better than the year before," Lincecum said. "Mechanically, I felt really good. The timing of my arm was good. It didn't feel like I was getting out of whack. I was still holding my mechanics."
The outing was a unique one for Lincecum because it marked the first time this spring he faced a hitter. Most pitchers throw off a mound several times before coming to spring training, but Lincecum stayed on flat ground because he was still working on mechanical tweaks. Lincecum was scheduled to face hitters during a live batting practice session last week, but heavy rain forced him to throw in a covered bullpen with minor leaguers standing still in the batter's box.
Facing his first hitter since Game 3 of the World Series, Lincecum got Skip Schumaker to roll a ball to the right side. Kensuke Tanaka's throw to first sailed into the stands, but Lincecum worked around the error, striking out Andre Ethier as part of an inning-ending double play.
The Dodgers had three hits in the second inning, with the dagger being a two-run double by Jeremy Moore on a slider that Lincecum said "kind of just spun."
"Other than that," he continued, "it wasn't too bad.
Bochy said he liked Lincecum's rhythm on the mound and thought he had good stuff.
"He occasionally got out of sync last year and he knows it," Bochy said. "He worked hard on cleaning it up."
Bochy lifted Lincecum after the double because his pitch count had reached 38, a high number for a starter making his first start of the spring. The high pitch count was due mostly to four three-ball counts, and Lincecum said he would work on putting hitters away when he reached two strikes. Otherwise, Lincecum didn't see many issues on Tuesday. He said a strenuous offseason workout routine has given him the strength to stay strong mechanically.
"Last spring, it was all about trying to make something out of nothing," he said. "The question now isn't whether or not I'm going to throw strikes, it's where I'm going to throw strikes."
"It's just thinking about my spot and thinking about what pitch the catcher is putting down and hitting it. It's making all the other stuff a none-issue."
A two-out, ninth-inning rally erased a four-run deficit in an 8-all tie at Camelback Ranch. Brock Bond cut the Dodgers' lead in half with a two-run homer, and after pinch-hitter Johnny Monell singled, Brett Pill hit his second homer of the day. Bochy had given Pill the option to head home in the eighth inning, but Pill didn't have a car because he took the team bus.
"I would have taken eight at-bats if he would have given them to me," Pill said.
Normally a first baseman, Pill will see time at third base and in left field this spring in an effort to make the club as a backup.