Lincecum chewing up hitters, food at hefty pace

Lincecum chewing up hitters, food at hefty pace

Lincecum chewing up hitters, food at hefty pace
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Conventional wisdom says results don't carry much weight in Spring Training, but Giants ace Tim Lincecum is proving this spring that they really do, not just during the game but afterward.

His pitching line from Wednesday's outing against the White Sox: one run allowed on three hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings, a fine next step toward his Opening Day start for the Giants at Dodger Stadium on April 1.

His anticipated eating line after the game: Three double-doubles, two orders of fries and a half-chocolate, half-strawberry shake -- or what would feed a small family at In-N-Out Burger.

"That's probably not the best form of nutrients but I've always kind of just eaten what I've wanted to and worried about it later," Lincecum said after his fifth start of the spring. "Nothing's affected me now, so I'll stick to it."

Lincecum has turned the pigouts up a notch this spring in an effort to put on weight, and the results -- while perhaps not quite visible on the still lithe 26-year-old's frame -- are a gain of 10-11 pounds to a literally beefy 168.

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Chewing up hitters isn't enough this March. He's downing burgers, pizza, steak and all kinds of grub to try to pack a few pounds on a body whose metabolism is through the roof and whose running and workout regimen tends to knock off the pounds whether he likes it or not, just like how he sweats off pounds on the mound.

"I just try to fight it by eating often and eating a lot when I can and eating until I'm full, and even then trying to stuff it in," he said.

Sticking closer to his workout regimen this spring than he has in years past, Lincecum likes how it's working out. Devouring the calories is a way to get his body girded for the 162-game regular season.

"I'm working harder, and my body keeps telling me to eat more and eat more often," Lincecum said. "I want to get my weight up and have something to work with from the beginning of the season on. I go by if my body's feeling good, and this feels good."

Well, yeah, but how about his cholesterol?

"It's probably not very good," Lincecum admitted.

Said manager Bruce Bochy: "Yeah, he's put on a few pounds, he looks good out there. He's showing off his muscles now. I wish I could eat like that."

Bochy's just happy to see what Lincecum has delivered thus far on the mound, where he has good numbers to go along with strong stuff. Lincecum had all the pitches he used working Wednesday, although he didn't use a curveball once -- wasn't called by catcher Eli Whiteside, and he didn't shake off to it, either.

"I think he's where he needs to be right now," Bochy said. "He's throwing the ball well. We've got him stretched out, and he's right on target for Opening Day."

It's adding up to the best spring of Lincecum's young career, certainly a sight far better than last spring, when he had a 9.39 ERA in three Cactus League outings before making his last two appearances in Minor League games.

"I don't think I've felt this good all spring in any year, for that matter," Lincecum said.

In Wednesday's outing, he was typically sharp -- getting three strikeouts and six groundouts through the first three innings. His only hiccup was giving up a single to Paul Konerko and a triple to left-center by Alex Rios, but he went strikeout, groundout to first, groundout to short to strand Rios at third.

And then it was off to In-N-Out, or something resembling it, for some serious chow. Lincecum, who grew up enjoying the greasy burgers at Seattle joint Dick's Drive-In, has focused on more meat and less bun in his hamburger ventures, going ketchup only on them.

The weightier issue for Lincecum, of course, is getting ready for the regular season to open. He's gotten his pitch count up to around 75, which puts him well on target to extend into the late innings as the season starts.

"You're just trying to get your arm strength up," he said. "I don't think it jumps up 10 pitches in increments every outing. You just work up to around 75, and recently I've been around that pitch count. You see how your body responds, and mine's responding well."

That body's hungry, and the pangs don't go away. The same can be said for his yearning for another shot at a World Series ring, and that quest is something he can relate to perhaps a little stronger than his teammates because of individual achievements setting a high bar going into 2010.

"Obviously, coming off two consecutive Cy Youngs you've got a target on your back and you've got to adjust somehow, some way," Lincecum said. "Winning the World Series, it's a bigger target on everybody's back. When you're aware of that, it motivates you to want to get better."

And, in Lincecum's case, bigger.

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.