Giants ace Tim Lincecum in camp after $23M deal

Published February 18, 2010

| AP

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Tim Lincecum might have thought he was on a mound last Friday, not outside a St. Petersburg arbitration hearing room.

"My adrenaline kicked in a little bit, just because of what I was going through. Nerves. Butterflies. All the excitement. Tiredness," Lincecum said Thursday of the emotions he felt in the hours before his arbitration hearing was to begin.

As it almost always does when Lincecum is wired up, things worked out just fine.

Lincecum avoided an arbitration hearing at literally the last hour, when he and the Giants agreed to a two-year, $23 million contract. He will make $8 million this season and $13 million in 2011, with a $2 million bonus to be split between the two seasons.

"I'm completely happy with what happened," said Lincecum, the two-time defending NL Cy Young Award winner. "I don't know the significance that much. The bump in pay ... I don't know how to put it into words."

Lincecum's contract was the richest signed by a first-year arbitration-eligible player, exceeding the $6.25 million contract Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon signed last January to avoid arbitration.

Lincecum, 25, also has a chance to earn $2.05 million in bonuses over the next two years, including $500,000 for winning a Cy Young Award and $100,000 for making an All-Star team.

The deal was finalized after Giants vice president Bobby Evans and Lincecum's agent, Rick Thurman, spent about an hour in discussions prior to the scheduled arbitration hearing.

"The way (arbitration) was explained to me, is that it's kind of a crap shoot. It forces deals to get done. I'm glad we got something worked out," said Lincecum, who also understood the process could get nasty.

"Definitely. I knew that going in. I was going to keep an open mind about it. It is easy to say you are not going to take things personally, but I didn't want to go down that road."

San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said it takes another distraction away from his fourth camp.

"It let him focus on baseball and I'm sure relax a little bit," Bochy said. "Timmy has been handling it great all along, but I'm sure it was on his mind. It had to be."

Giants pitchers and catchers began workouts Thursday, when Lincecum threw off a mound for the first time since 2009, when he was 15-7 with a 2.48 ERA and a major league-high 261 strikeouts.

"It's incredible what he has accomplished the last two years. At his age, to be at this point, it is a credit to the gifts and talents that he brings. It's great to see him out there. The whole staff. They have developed a pretty good reputation, and we want to continue that," Bochy said.

Lincecum did not exactly ease into his first day, popping the glove with his fastball and even mixing in a breaking pitch.

"The first ball he threw, I think he woke the catcher up. He didn't lob it in there. He let it go," Bochy said. "He surprised me with a curve ball. Threw a pretty good one."

NOTES: Non-roster invitees and right-handers Santiago Casilla and Rafael Kova did not report with the rest of the pitchers and catchers. Casilla is waiting for visa clearance in the Dominican Republic, Bochy said, and Kova had dental work done. Casilla spent the previous three seasons with Oakland. ... Non-roster right-hander Guillermo Mota did not throw on the first day while finishing his physical exam. He is expected to participate Friday, Bochy said. ... Mark DeRosa was among the position players who reported early.

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