Lincecum Will Keep Slider in Back Pocket to Open Season

Michael ManbertContributor IIApril 3, 2012

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 27:  Starting pitcher Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 27, 2012 in Scottsdale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images


Tim Lincecum will open the season on Friday without his full arsenal of pitches. The Freak, long noted for his explosive and unconventional delivery, opted to go through spring training this year with just his fastball, splitter and dominant changeup.

Fangraphs statistics show that 24.1 percent of Lincecum’s pitches in 2011 were sliders—meaning that, at least for the early portion of the season, he’ll be even more reliant on the change, which is widely regarded as the best in the league.

From CSN Bay Area:

Giants manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged the slider isn’t so friendly on the elbow, and Lincecum is trying to pace himself this season.

“He just wanted to back off,” Bochy said. “It’s a long season and he has a lot of innings in him. It probably puts a little more stress on his arm. He probably wants to wait to break it out later.”

With Matt Cain receiving a huge contract recently (six years, $127 million), one can be certain that Timmy will be at his best over the course of the next two years with a major contract possibly looming after the 2013 season.

Michael Manbert is a reporter for