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Giants' starters stay sharp in the desert (w/video)

  • San Francisco Giants' Tim Lincecum works against the Kansas City Royals in the second inning of a spring training baseball game, Friday, March 7, 2014, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez)

SURPRISE, Ariz. — When he got into the flow of camp last month, Tim Lincecum told reporters that he was looking for more “crappy contact” this season. The goal was to get easier outs, and so far Lincecum is hitting his mark.

Lincecum was again sharp on Friday, giving up just two hits in three scoreless innings against the Kansas City Royals. He didn't walk anybody or get a strikeout, relying on lazy fly balls and grounders to the left side while throwing just 35 pitches in three innings. In five innings this spring, Lincecum has given up three hits and walked just one. He hasn't given up a run yet.

“I just wanted to pound the zone a little bit more than I did (last time),” he said. “Last game I had a bad one where I threw four straight balls and I was trying really hard not to let that happen and attack the zone. Even if I was behind on a hitter, still come back and make good pitches. That's just where my mindset was at.”

It's now 23 innings, one earned run for the starting staff. While you throw in the “this is spring” caveat, Lincecum made a point in February to set his bar high.

He wanted a good spring ERA, a launching pad for a comeback season. You couldn't ask for much more from his first two outings.

Lincecum threw all four pitches for strikes against the Royals, mixing in three sliders. “They were all good ones,” he said. “That felt good.”

He talked about specifics after he walked off the mound, mentioning sequences to random Royals hitters and recounting the sliders he threw. This isn't the free-wheeling Lincecum, he's paying much more attention to everything that's happening around him. He's pleased with how that's all working out, too.

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