SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Though Cactus League activity barely has begun, it's legitimate to suggest Tim Lincecum has regained at least some of his dominant form.
Lincecum struck out five batters in two innings during the Giants' 7-6 exhibition loss Saturday to the Padres. That hiked his Cactus League total to seven strikeouts in three innings. Lincecum also allowed two runs, including Wil Myers' fourth-inning, opposite-field drive to right field. Overall, however, the right-hander recalled his glory days, when he led the National League in strikeouts from 2008-10.
Lincecum attributed much of his early success to his offseason collaboration with his father, Chris. The elder Lincecum tinkered with his son's pitching mechanics and helped him regain a consistent delivery.
"I feel positive about the progress I've been able to make, in spite of the two runs," Lincecum said. He pointed out that even his deviations from his form represented a step forward, due to "the fact that I'm able to feel it and know the difference."
Lincecum has continued to jump ahead of hitters on the count, instead of struggling from behind as he repeatedly did in recent years.
"It's not like I'm coming back from 2-0, 2-1, 3-1," he said. "Pound the zone and go from there. Make them go on the defensive."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.