Lincoln taking 'camp' literally this spring

Righty enjoys nature, relaxes while living in camper

Lincoln taking 'camp' literally this spring

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Brad Lincoln was getting back to the Bucs, so why not also get back to nature?

Most baseball players come to Spring Training camp only figuratively. But Lincoln really is camping, living with his wife, January, in the camper he towed all the way from his Texas home.

If you're looking for him, you can find him at Frog Creek.

"It's just a regular RV park. It's a way to get away. Nice and peaceful," Lincoln said. "Once the game is over, I get to go home and relax, just enjoy nature. I wanted to see how it'll feel, and so far so good."

Different wheels for different folks. Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar arrived in Surprise, Ariz., in a gold SUV. Tigers hurler Alfredo Simon pulled into Lakeland, Fla., in a chrome 'Benz. Lincoln hitched his camper to his truck for the ride from Pearland, Texas, to Bradenton, making him a kindred spirit of Daniel Norris, the Toronto pitching prospect who is living out of his '78 Volks bus.

"It's a more primitive style, which is more my style," Lincoln said.

He feels almost as comfortable with the Pirates as he does in his camper, which makes this the perfect place for the 29-year-old former No. 1 Draft choice to get his derailed career back on track.

"Having been here for six, seven years and knowing the front office guys and many guys on the team ... there's definitely a comfort zone for me," Lincoln said. "It allows me to go out there and have fun while I'm competing, be myself."

The Pirates hit the reset button this offseason. They signed Lincoln -- to a Minor League deal; he is here on a non-roster basis -- then dealt away Travis Snider; the two were swapped for each other on July 30, 2012.

The Buccos' staff has seen only the good Lincoln, the one who had a 2.73 ERA in 28 games, with 60 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings, at the time of that swap. They only heard, or read, about the Lincoln who since has worked to a 5.03 ERA in 48 games with Toronto and Philadelphia.

Hence, he doesn't have to be hung up on making a good, quick impression. After throwing a blank inning on Tuesday against the Blue Jays, he was ambushed on a 2-2 pitch by the Rays' Corey Brown for a long solo homer Saturday's 1-1 tie.

"They know what they'll get out of me. I know what to expect out of them," said Lincoln, who professes to physically still be the same guy he was three years ago. "I might need to change my mentality a little bit, but my stuff is still there. Same arsenal, just have to go back to throwing it with the same mindset."

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.