Lincecum is on pace, blister and all

Tim Lincecum, in multiple exposure, made it through most of three innings on Tuesday night. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

After pitching in a Cactus League game for the first time in two weeks on Tuesday night, Tim Lincecum said that "juicing" has helped heal the blister on his right middle finger. The pitcher immediately realized how that sounded and corrected himself with a laugh.

"I don't mean 'juicing.' [I mean] LIME-juicing," he stressed, adding that he's been using lime juice and mud on the blister.

Returning to the mound for his second start of the spring, Lincecum struck out two batters and didn't allow a run for the first two innings against the Padres. But he fell behind in the count in the third when he allowed three consecutive hits, and left with two outs. He gave up four hits and three runs, threw 43 pitches in 2 2/3 innings and was credited with the loss in San Diego’s 6-2 win.

“Every pitch could have been better all together, but I’m pleased with the results,” he said. “Well, not the result, but the way things went besides the results. My blister wasn’t an issue and I got my pitch count up and I got to go out there for multiple innings.”

“We got him right where we want him as far as his pitch count,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He hasn’t been out there very much, which is fine. We have plenty of time. Next time, we’ll probably get him up to 55 or 60 pitches, somewhere in there.”

Coming off the worst season of his career -- 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA -- Lincecum dedicated himself to an offseason strength and conditioning routine to get back on track. “My body and where it felt last year and where it is now is night and day,” he said.

“He’s stronger this spring,” Bochy said. “He’s definitely showing a lot more arm strength. He worked hard this winter. I like where’s at right now. He’s ahead of where he was at this point last year.”

Lincecum figures he will make four more starts before the season opens, and says that will be enough for him to get ready. So does Bochy.

“There’s not a doubt in my mind we’ll have him where we want him when the season starts,” Bochy said, adding, “Knock on wood that the blister doesn’t flare up.”