It took Tim Lincecum three weeks to get into a postseason game, and it may have taken one postseason game to knock him out.
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Lincecum left a relief appearance Wednesday due to lower back tightness, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported Thursday that the right-hander was set to undergo an MRI on his lower back and left side region.
The injury was especially disappointing given Lincecum's performance to that point. Despite being the last man on the roster for the Wild Card Game, NLDS and NLCS, Lincecum was called on to eat some innings in the Game 2 loss and performed well. The 30-year-old pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings, not allowing a baserunner while striking out two. But on a 1-2 pitch to Salvador Perez, Lincecum tweaked something.
After leaving Wednesday's game, Lincecum expressed frustration with his situation.
"You finally get out there, and you hurt yourself on one [single] pitch," Lincecum said Wednesday. "It's just bad luck I guess."
If the MRI shows a more serious injury than just tightness, it will likely be the end of the line for Lincecum this postseason. The Giants will have the option to replace Lincecum on the 25-man active roster, with Heyman listing George Kontos, Juan Gutierrez and Erik Cordier as possibilities.
But that's a contingency plan. With how well Lincecum threw Wednesday, Giants manager Bruce Bochy and the Giants would much rather have Lincecum healthy and available.
And who knows -- he might even get into another game this time.
Phillies Busy Early
For the second straight year, the Phillies have been super aggressive in the early days of winter.
The Phillies were active early last year, signing Marlon Byrd in the first few days of free agency in early November. This year, they've gotten to work retaining players, signing two impending free agents before they've been given a shot to hit the open market.
The Phils retained Jerome Williams on a one-year, $2.5 million deal on Tuesday, and they gave Grady Sizemore an incentive-laden $2 million contract Thursday to keep the veteran around. Sizemore has an additional $3 million he can earn for his performance.
Unlike the Byrd signing, the Sizemore deal offers little in the way of upside. The 32-year-old started the year with the Red Sox, eventually being designated for assignment after hitting .216/.288/.324. He didn't do much better after catching on with the Phillies, hitting .253/.313/.389 in 60 games. It's hard to imagine Sizemore being much more than a fourth outfielder for the club, and after some intrigue surrounded him last March he should return to being a non-factor in fantasy leagues next year.
Free Agent Rumblings
Free agency won't officially open for another few weeks, but it hasn't stopped some rumors from circulating already.
Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reported Thursday that the Mets have "concrete" interest in Michael Cuddyer, who appears to be on the outs in Colorado. According to Martino, "people familiar with the Mets' thinking" believe the club would like to sign Cuddyer to a two-year deal to provide some right-handed pop. The Mets got 30 home runs from Lucas Duda last season and have Curtis Granderson returning as well, but power from the right side left something to be desired -- just 60 of the team's 125 homers came from right-handed hitters.
The Jays were also in the headlines, but not for their perceived free agent targets. Instead, the news was the team engaging Melky Cabrera in contract talks, according to Heyman. He heard the club is "willing to offer at least a three-year deal" to Cabrera. Even if a deal can't be reached, the Jays will likely get something out of 30-year-old -- if nothing else, the team will offer him a one-year qualifying offer of $15.3 million and receive draft-pick compensation for Melky if he signs with another club.
Another popular member of the Jays could be Adam Lind, who isn't among the free agent class. Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun said he's heard the team is "getting a lot of interest on Lind and not just from American League teams" interested in acquiring the first baseman. Elliott said "three or four clubs" have called on Lind, who has a pair of club-friendly options remaining and hit well when healthy this past season. In the right situation, Lind could be a player to take a flyer on come draft season.
Quick Hits: Brandon Moss underwent surgery Thursday to repair a torn labrum and fix an impingement in his right hip. He'll be off his feet for a month, but the surgery shouldn't cut into his playing time come 2015 ... Dan Haren underwent surgery as well, having arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder Wednesday. The surgery was on his non-throwing arm and won't be an issue going forward ... John Hart will likely be named the Braves' president of baseball operations in the coming days. The former Indians and Rangers general manager will now get to work finding a GM to replace the departed Frank Wren ... Game 3 of the World Series is this evening, pitting Jeremy Guthrie against Tim Hudson.