SAN FRANCISCO – Tim Lincecum's turn in the rotation is being pushed up a day to Wednesday against Arizona, making the San Francisco Giants' ace available for a one-game playoff Monday with San Diego if the NL West title comes to that.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy also could decide to pitch the two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner on short rest Sunday in the season finale against the Padres if need be, though the hard-throwing righty hasn't gone on three days' rest in the majors. Lincecum would certainly agree to the challenge, though he wasn't available before Tuesday night's series opener with Arizona. The team said he was receiving treatment.
"Right now our rotation's in order and we tweaked it a little in this series and flip-flopped Timmy and Madison," manager Bruce Bochy said.
Entering Tuesday's game, the Giants lead the Padres by one game in the division race.
With Lincecum pitching Wednesday — still on normal rest — rookie Madison Bumgarner will now go in Thursday afternoon's series finale with the Diamondbacks.
Lincecum is 15-10 with a 3.51 ERA this season. After a career-worst five-start losing streak, he is 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA in his past five outings.
"We're just keeping Timmy on his regular rest," Bochy said. "He's pitching on his fifth day, it gives Madison a couple of extra days. And so that's our thinking as much as anything down the road."
The Giants hope to have second baseman Freddy Sanchez back from a shoulder strain for the middle game against Arizona.
Sanchez underwent an MRI exam during Monday's day off that revealed a mild strain in his right shoulder. He also received an injection in the shoulder.
"We'll have to check on him tomorrow but he's feeling better and that's good news for us," Bochy said.
Sanchez, a three-time All-Star and the 2006 NL batting champion with Pittsburgh, had a procedure on his non-throwing left shoulder in late December. That's after he underwent left knee surgery late last season.