Halos keeping tabs on Lincecum

Two-time Cy Young Award winner will hold showcase in Scottsdale for 11-plus teams

Halos keeping tabs on Lincecum

MILWAUKEE -- Count the Angels among the many teams that are keeping tabs on Tim Lincecum, the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner who is expected to throw in front of scouts for the first time on Friday. It's hard to gauge the Angels' interest at this point, largely because Lincecum's offseason training has been so secretive.

The Angels' rotation depth has been pared from eight to four since the start of Spring Training, so they certainly have a need.

C.J. Wilson (shoulder tendinitis) and Andrew Heaney (forearm tightness) are on the disabled list, and they won't return until the middle of June at the earliest. Tyler Skaggs, a product of August 2014 Tommy John surgery, was scratched from his fourth start with Triple-A Salt Lake and diagnosed with biceps tendinitis on Monday, which will keep him away from throwing for at least another week. And Matt Shoemaker was optioned to the Minor Leagues after finishing April with a 9.15 ERA.

The Angels don't need a fifth starter until May 14.

Lincecum was one of the game's best pitchers from 2008-11, averaging 16 wins, a 2.81 ERA and 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings while making the All-Star team and finishing within the top 10 in NL Cy Young Award voting in each of those four seasons.

In the four years since, though, Lincecum's ERA has ballooned to 4.68. He posted a 4.13 ERA, a 1.48 WHIP and a 1.58 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 15 starts last year, then underwent season-ending hip surgery. The 31-year-old right-hander has reportedly been working all winter and spring to rebuild his velocity and durability, and he will finally be able to showcase that in front of evaluators from other teams in five days.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network first reported that Lincecum's showcase will take place in Scottsdale, with as many as 11-plus teams expected to attend.

Decision looming
When left fielder Daniel Nava is activated off the DL, the Angels will probably have to choose between outfielder Rafael Ortega and first baseman Ji-Man Choi, both left-handed hitters, for their bench. Choi, a Rule 5 Draft pick, would have to be exposed to waivers if removed from the active roster. Ortega has options.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said "both players bring positives," though Choi has only compiled 17 plate appearances through the first 25 games and utility infielder Cliff Pennington has been getting pregame work at first base on a daily basis.

"I imagine that if any player is going to stay on our club, there has to be a role for him," Scioscia said. "With Ji-Man, obviously, it's still being defined."

Injury updates
Nava, recovering from tendinitis in his left knee, was scheduled to serve as the designated hitter in his first rehab game for Class A Advanced Inland Empire on Monday night. Scioscia said "it's a possibility" that Nava could rejoin the Angels when they return home on Friday.

His left-field platoon mate, Craig Gentry, remained in Arlington to receive treatment for his ailing back and is eligible to be activated off the DL as early as May 11.

Soto seeing more time
Geovany Soto started for the third time in four days behind the plate and it appears, for now at least, that the veteran catcher has supplanted the young Carlos Perez behind the plate. Following Monday's game, Soto was batting .343/.395/.629, while Perez is hitting .148/.207/.167.

But Scioscia raved about Perez's defense in a sweep of the Royals last week and stressed that nothing has changed, saying, "We're going to need both of these guys."

Unconventional lineup
The Angels' first game in a National League park prompted Scioscia to bat his starting pitcher, Jered Weaver, in the No. 8 spot, ahead of second baseman Johnny Giavotella. It marked the second time in Angels history that the pitcher has batted eighth, with Weaver also doing it last May. Scioscia did it to potentially feed the middle of his order with more RBI opportunities.

Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.