Lincecum confident of return by Spring Training

Veteran righty faces offseason of rehabbing from hip surgery

Lincecum confident of return by Spring Training

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum intends to pitch in the Major Leagues again, and he said Tuesday that he definitely wants to return to the Giants.

But, facing at least five months of rigorous rehabilitation between now and the start of Spring Training in mid-February, the only commitments Lincecum can honestly make are to himself and each day's exercise regimen.

"I'm pretty confident I'll be ready for Spring Training, but I don't know what that's going to look like," Lincecum said at AT&T Park in his first public comments since undergoing arthroscopic hip surgery on Sept. 3. "... I'm just worried about what I have to do on a daily basis. I'm trying to wrap my head around this whole rehab world."

Lincecum, 31, will become eligible for free agency once his two-year, $35 million contract expires at the end of this season. But his exposure to the open market won't unfold the way it ideally should for the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner. Due to his physical condition, Lincecum and his agent, Rick Thurman, won't field scads of offers. Whether Lincecum throws for teams in tryout fashion isn't worth speculating about yet, partially because he doesn't know when he'll be allowed to throw.

Asked if he'd like to return to the Giants, the only organization he has played for in 10 professional seasons, Lincecum replied, "That'd be really nice, obviously." But he quickly added that recovering from his first major injury dominates his thoughts.

"Everything's on track," said Lincecum, who finished 7-4 with a 4.13 ERA in 15 starts this season. "It's obviously tedious, but I think that's what rehab is about."

Lincecum will continue to rehabilitate in the Phoenix area under the supervision of physical therapists who work with Dr. Marc Philippon, who performed the surgery. Lincecum called the therapists "exceptional" and added, "I feel like I'm in good hands. They're forward thinkers, you know what I mean? They've got an idea of where I'm headed and where I need to go."

Lincecum, who planned to return to Phoenix on Wednesday, said that he performs pool therapy four days a week and engages in two-a-days three days per week. Though he's still on crutches, he said that he began walking briefly two days ago and should be able to go on short, full-weight-bearing strolls in four days.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.