Lincecum ready for spring opener -- and Twitter


Lincecum ready for spring opener -- and Twitter

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tim Lincecum threw an extended bullpen session and said he feels good about his progress ahead of Saturday's exhibition opener. He'll start the game against Arizona and is likely to pitch just one inning.

He's about to make short work of social media, too.

Lincecum's brand new Twitter account (@TimLincecum) went live Thursday afternoon. His first message was to Clint Dempsey and U.S. Soccer:

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Tim Lincecum @clint_dempsey @ussoccer just want to say congrats to you and the team on a great job and making the US proud, so pumped for you guys
Mar 01 via UberSocial for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

Yes, it really was Lincecum. He called his agent, Rick Thurman, after the U.S. upset Italy Wednesday -- their first victory over the soccer-mad nation in 78 years.

"That's what inspired him to Tweet," said Paul Kuo, director of public relations for the Beverly Hills Sports Council. "He asked us to help him set up an account and he told us he wants to do it. He doesn't want us to handle it.

"It's real, it's him and it's going to be him."

Other than a few commercial endorsements, Lincecum hasn't sought attention ever since establishing himself as a superstar with his consecutive Cy Young Awards in 2008-09. He values his privacy away from the ballpark and disappears in the offseason. So the foray into Twitter is surprising, indeed.

"As you know, he's a big soccer fan," Kuo said. "He wanted to send the message right away, and the folks at Twitter were a great help in expediting that all-important, much requested verification."

Yep. Timmy got his blue checkmark. He also received a brief response -- "Thanks!" -- from U.S. Soccer.

After Lincecum's agency sent out a welcome message via its own Twitter account, Major League Baseball and other major media outlets spread the message with their own Tweets. The result: Lincecum generated over 9,000 followers in the first hour of the account's existence. He's got a ways to go before he catches closer Brian Wilson (@BrianWilson38), who has more than 475,000 followers even though he's become an infrequent Tweeter.

Kuo said he wasn't sure what Lincecum had planned for his Twitter account, but he hoped fans would enjoy hearing directly from the Giants' four-time All-Star.

"We all know social media is becoming more prevalent," Kuo said. "He already had a Facebook page with news and updates, but Twitter seems to be much more personal."

Other Giants on Twitter include Jeremy Affeldt (@JeremyAffeldt), Brandon Crawford (@BCraw35), Sergio Romo (@SergioRomo54), Pablo Sandoval (@KFP48), Brett Pill (@BrettPill6), Melky Cabrera (@MCabrera53) and Eric Surkamp (@ESurkamp). Buster Posey (@BusterPosey) joined Twitter over the winter, but most of his messages thus far appear to be written by his agency.

When Lincecum wasn't typing 140 characters on Thursday, he threw an extended bullpen session that included a sit-down break to simulate throwing multiple innings. He said he felt no difference after the rest, although his fastball is still riding up in the zone.

"My two-seamers were up," said Lincecum, who threw several other sinkers that appeared to have plenty of cut and lateral movement. "I've been getting on top of it a little more. ... This one had more of a game feel to it. It felt good."

Giants agree to multi-year deal with OF Austin Jackson

Giants agree to multi-year deal with OF Austin Jackson

SAN FRANCISCO -- The overhaul of the Giants' outfield is complete.

The Giants agreed to a two-year deal with center fielder Austin Jackson on Monday, the team announced. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the deal is worth $6 million. The team did not immediately confirm the financials of the deal, but per Heyman, clauses could take it up to $8.5 million. Those figures would be in line with the goal of staying under the luxury tax threshold.

"We are excited to have Austin join the Giants. He is a talented and versatile player who will strengthen our roster and provide additional depth at all three outfield positions," Giants Senior Vice President and General Manager Bobby Evans said in a statement.

Jackson was worth 1.9 WAR last season while posting a .869 OPS for the Cleveland Indians. He mashed left-handed pitching, batting .352 in 122 at-bats. That trait could allow Jackson to platoon with Steven Duggar if he's ready early in the season. 

Jackson is the clear frontrunner now to start in center field on opening day and help fix a glaring defensive issue. Andrew McCutchen has already been installed as the new right fielder and Hunter Pence will slide over to left.

Giants first round pick makes top 100 prospects list


Giants first round pick makes top 100 prospects list

SAN FRANCISCO -- The annual Baseball America top 100 prospects list backed up two widely held beliefs about the Giants farm system: The organization still does not have a lot of high-end prospects and a newcomer is viewed as the best of the bunch.

Heliot Ramos, last year's first-round pick, was ranked as the 79th best prospect in the game, but he's the only Giant on the list. 

Ramos, 18, is the name just about every opposing front office asked for in trade talks this offseason, but the Giants view him as a potential five-tool center fielder. He already appears to be one of the steals of the 2017 draft. After being selected 19th overall, Ramos hit .348 in rookie ball with a .404 on-base percentage and .645 slugging percentage. He hit six homers in 35 games and stole 10 bases.

Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna is the top prospect on the list, followed by Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 

The Dodgers have four players listed before Ramos and the Padres have four of the top 32 prospects as they try to rebuild and get back into NL West contention. The A's have four players in the top 100: lefty A.J. Puk (30), shortstop Franklin Barreto (43), shortstop Jorge Mateo (64) and outfielder Dustin Fowler (88).