Bickford humbled to be drafted by Giants

Team's top pick visits AT&T Park, calls selection 'a blessing'

Bickford humbled to be drafted by Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- One day after the San Francisco Giants signed Phil Bickford, their first selection in the 2015 Draft, the team welcomed him to AT&T Park.

The right-handed pitcher from the College of Southern Nevada made his first trip to the ballpark in San Francisco on Sunday afternoon and had the chance to meet Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

"It's an honor and a blessing, and it's also humbling," said Bickford, who will start his pro career at the Giants' Rookie-level Arizona League affiliate. "The track record they have developing pitchers ... makes it even more of a blessing to be with an organization like this."

Giants draft RHP Bickford No. 18

The 18th overall pick in the Draft, Bickford played his freshman season at Cal State Fullerton, where he appeared in 20 games. He went 6-3 with a 2.13 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 76 innings pitched.

He transferred to Southern Nevada after one season to become eligible for the 2015 Draft. At Southern Nevada, Bickford went 9-1 with a 1.45 ERA while racking up an impressive 166 strikeouts in 86 2/3 innings.

"Any time you get a nice arm, that should excite you," Bochy said. "I've said so many times, you'll go as far as your pitching takes you. That's been, I think, the biggest reason for our success."

Bickford was just as good during the 2014 summer in the Cape Cod League, where he allowed just two runs and struck out 44 batters in 27 2/3 innings. He received the Russ Ford Award as the most outstanding relief pitcher and the Robert A. McNeese Award, as the league's top prospect.

"He has an athletic delivery and fills the strike zone, so there's no reason not to project him as a starter," according to MLB Pipeline.

Bickford was selected 10th overall by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013, but never signed with the team.

Tim Lincecum is still feeling stiffness in his right forearm after taking a line drive off his arm Saturday against the Rockies. Bochy said Lincecum could use an extended period of rest.

"I just think it's going to serve him well to back him off a little bit and give him a break," Bochy said. "Hopefully this will give him a chance to get his strength and stamina back and get him back to where he was."

Oliver Macklin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.