Aug 23, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (R) removes Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) from the game against the Washington Nationals in the third inning at Nationals Park. The Nationals won 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Lincecum Trying to Stay Positive About Move to Bullpen

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Bruce Bochy announced yesterday that the San Francisco Giants will skip Tim Lincecum‘s next scheduled start, and they will start Yusmeiro Petit instead. It’s unclear if this change will last longer than just one game, but as of now, Lincecum has been moved to the bullpen.

Before today’s Giants game, Lincecum spoke to the media about his thoughts on this change, what has gone wrong for him recently, and why he’s had success out of the bullpen in the past.

I’m for the team moving forward, and if he’s making that decision, then it’s up to him. He’s the one who sees it, he’s the one who has to make that decision. But in my mind, I’m going to go out and battle any chance I get, any time I go out there, whether that’s start day or in relief. I think he’s just giving me time to get my stuff right and kind of clear my head, just try get away from the tedious nature of picking at things too much between starts.

It’s always difficult because you don’t want to be in this position. But now that I’ve found myself in it, I’ll try to work out of it. It’d be bad to take this as a negative because I’m still going to be able to pitch. I’m just going to steer that direction.

He also discussed what he wanted to focus on during his time away from the starting rotation.

Mechanically, I’ve been aloof here the last few months. I think it’s just getting back to feeling those mechanics out and feeling what my bullet points are, and what I’m going to stick to. I feel like in the rhythms of the game, I lose track of that. Obviously, I try to stick to my pitch plan, but I’m not remembering the foundation of what got me here, and those are my mechanics. I have to get back to that and working things in the right way. I feel like the last couple of days have been pretty proactive for me.

He also explained his frustration with his recent struggles. Lincecum’s main focus in the past few years has been finding consistency and that is exactly what he’s been struggling to find recently.

It is, just because consistency was something I was looking so forward to finding and I did. It was heartbreaking to kind of fall out of it. I think that’s why this game is as fun as it is. We get a chance to battle ourselves at times, and that competition can be fun at times. But it can also have a negative effect, and you’ve seen the result of that. I’m just trying to get my head spinning in the right direction and be positive, and leaning on the things I know I can do.

Lastly, Lincecum reflected on why he thinks he’s had success out of the bullpen in his career.

I think it’s just a smaller sample size. You’ve got that one or two innings to worry about, and you don’t have to necessarily stretch yourself out. Obviously, you have smaller room for error, but at the same time, you kind of know what you have to go out there and do. I don’t know, it’s just easier to leave it out there.

After the Giants were swept by the Kansas City Royals earlier this month, fans started to discuss why the Giants should or should not move Lincecum to the bullpen, either as soon as possible or for the 2015 season.

The argument to move him to the bullpen made sense, because his previous success there suggested that he could adapt to the unpredictability and the pressure of being a reliever.

The argument to keep him in the starting rotation, however, also made sense. Given his large contract and the Giants’ lack of proven, major-league ready starting pitching, this wouldn’t necessarily be the best time to move Lincecum to the bullpen.

As discussed before, this could simply be a temporary move by Bochy to give Lincecum a mental break. Bochy could easily decide to start Lincecum in September, when he normally pitches well, and this will most likely be the case.

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