When you think of Tim Lincecum wearing a Giants uniform, you probably picture two things.
The long, flowing locks and no. '55' on the back of his jersey, helped 'The Freak' stand out on the AT&T Park mound. He was just the sixth player to wear the number in franchise history, and easily the most iconic.
But the two-time Cy Young winner, who reported to spring training with the Texas Rangers on Tuesday and will officially join the team pending the results of his physical, will have a new number with his new club this season. He'll wear no. 44, in honor of his brother Sean, who passed away last month at 37.
"That's a tough thing to put into words right now," Lincecum told the San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea on Tuesday, three days after his brother's funeral. "I've been thinking about it a lot with the services happening a couple of days ago. For me, I always looked up to my brother. He was an idol for me. He just had a lot of bad runs with choices he made in life. That's where we're at right now."
Lincecum did not pitch in 2017 after going 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA in nine starts for the Los Angeles Angels in 2016, and had 20 teams attend his Feb. 15 pitching showcase ahead of his comeback. He ultimately signed with the Rangers since, as he told Shea, "the conversations we had kind of made me feel warm and fuzzy inside."
The Los Angeles Dodgers also had serious interest, but Lincecum opted not to sign with the Giants' long-time rivals because he felt "it would be really tough to the point I would be betraying my heart." The Giants were not as interested, but he was still willing to see if there was a way to make it work.
"I was going to give the Giants the benefit of the doubt because it's where I feel my heart is," Lincecum said in the interview. "It's a second home for me, and they've been so good to me over the years. With that, I tried to keep the communication up with them, but ultimately, it came down to what would fit best for me, and this opportunity was the best fit."
A fellow former Giant will wear no. 55 for the Rangers. Matt Moore, who was traded to Texas in December, offered to let Lincecum have the number, but Lincecum told the Chronicle that he declined.
The Giants will host the Rangers in a three-game series from Aug. 24-26.