The Cove
Deep coverage of the Giants

Lincecum Slider-less Early in Season

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Tim Lincecum's taking the mound in Arizona on Friday afternoon to kick off the Giants season. There are high expectations for the San Francisco ace.

    But when you tune in on Friday night, don't expect to see "The Freak" slinging sliders past Diamondbacks hitters. That's because Tim's decided to shelve his slider early on in the season in order to save his arm the wear-and-tear that comes with dishing it out.

    “He just wanted to back off,” Bochy said earlier in the week, per Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. “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."

    So, is this scary? Yeah, it's scary. Lincecum's supposed to be an unstoppable phenom of health and weird kinetics and movement and stuff. And things. He's not supposed to be concerned about blowing out his elbow by throwing his most dangerous pitch.

    And of course it's worrisome that Lincecum ended spring training with an ERA of 5.70. Take away his best pitch, watch his ERA get ramped up and, yeah, that's also a concern.

    But Tim says he's "good" and "fine" and nothing's different.

    “Good, fine, everything felt the same,” Lincecum said. “Best the fastball location has been all spring. I feel ready to get back out there and pitch in a real game. I’m out there pitching for a purpose, and that’s to win.”

    Lincecum's said before he was looking forward to playing the Snakes in the opening series of the year -- they were the ones who closed out the Giants chances with a 3-0 sweep in Arizona last year.

    If he can head back there and dominate without needing his top pitch, it'll be the best sign of the spring yet.