SAN DIEGO – Tim Lincecum walked into the San Francisco Giants clubhouse late Sunday morning and, yes, his right arm was still attached to his body.
That was no small matter, considering that Lincecum threw 148 pitches in his first career no-hitter Saturday night.
The Freak, indeed.
While he was still trying to put his no-hitter into perspective, Lincecum said his arm was OK after his incredible effort in the San Francisco Giants 9-0 victory against the last-place San Diego Padres.
I havent played catch yet but right now I feel good, he said, sitting in the dugout an hour before the defending World Series champion Giants tried for a four-game sweep.
Lincecum looks different now that hes cut his long hair, and he doesnt throw quite as hard as he used to. One thing hasnt changed, though. Lincecum has never iced his arm after starts, including his 148-pitch performance.
It turns out there was no ice of any kind Saturday night.
Not even in the drinks that I didnt have last night, he said with a laugh.
I said to him, One time, can you ice it? manager Bruce Bochy recalled.
Lincecum, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, said he had a low-key celebration. He spoke by phone with his father and spent time with his girlfriend and his two dogs. He said he didnt get to sleep until about 3:30 a.m.
I woke up today, so Im good, he said.
Lincecum said his family and friends get more excited than I do just because its hard for me to kind of realize and take in whats going on.
It kind of goes back to what my dad tells me: Dont get too excited about the good stuff and dont get too down about the bad stuff, he added. Im trying to hover in the middle, and it could be the plague of me right now. Im not really finding a way to enjoy this, I guess. But being able to share it with my family and friends was the best part.
Bochy said he was impressed with how Lincecum got locked in when he had thrown about 100 pitches.
Sure, thats a lot of pitches, but theres days when a guy gets in a groove, hes not putting a lot of effort in it and you let the dog run. Theres no way I could have taken that kid out, Bochy said. First of all, he probably wouldnt have talked to me the rest of the season. But he was still going strong.
Lincecum struck out 13, walked four and hit a batter.
He struggled this year and last, although he has also been plagued this season by poor run support.
Lincecums no-hitter for the Giants follows Jonathan Sanchezs no-no in 2009 – also against the Padres – and Matt Cains perfect game last year.
Pitching coach Dave Righetti recalled that early in Lincecums career, his stuff was so good that it wasnt uncommon to think, Uh oh, this is the day.
I dont know that hed say this publicly, I think he maybe felt his time was past, Righetti said. I knew he watched Jonathan get his, and then Cain, and you know hes thinking about it.
For him to get it, I had tears in my eyes. I know what hes been through, back and forth, and being the guy, and people picking him apart. Im proud of him. I told him that the last game – the way hes been handling it all, and the way hes gone through this wave that every guys got to go through.
Lincecums no-hitter – the first in Petco Parks 10-year history – was popular well beyond the pro-Giants crowd in San Diego.
Lincecum is from Seattle and pitched for the University of Washington. During a pitching change during the Angels-Mariners game at Safeco Field, the ninth inning of the Giants-Padres game was shown on the video board, until there were two strikes on the last batter, Yonder Alonso.
Josh Hamilton then stepped into the batters box and the other game was taken off the board, drawing boos from the crowd. Hamilton had a long at-bat and word began trickling through the crowd that Lincecum had finished the no-no.
Before the next batter, the final out of Lincecums no-hitter was shown, and the crowd cheered.