Lincecum poised for Angels debut Saturday

Lincecum poised for Angels debut Saturday

ANAHEIM -- Tim Lincecum's next start will come with the Angels.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Monday that the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner will "definitely" join the team in Oakland over the weekend and will presumably make his 2016 debut on Saturday, the middle of a three-game weekend series against the A's.

Lincecum pitched well in his third start for Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday, carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning and finishing with a one-hitter through seven, walking one and striking out eight in Fresno, Calif.

Afterward, the 31-year-old right-hander told the local media that "the three starts I had definitely got me ready" to pitch in the big leagues. Lincecum -- coming off September hip surgery and signed to an incentive-laden $2.5 million contract -- will debut near San Francisco, a city where he remains a fan favorite.

Lincecum had a 2.65 ERA in three starts in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, striking out 19 batters and issuing six walks in 17 innings. He struggled early on in his first two starts, but was good from start to finish in his third, requiring only 89 pitches to record 21 outs.

David Huff, who gave up 10 runs (seven earned) in 5 1/3 innings in two spot starts, was designated for assignment on Monday, providing an immediate opening in the Angels' rotation. But Nick Tropeano, who threw a bullpen session on Monday, could also be nearing a return, at which point the Angels could have a tough decision with their rotation.

Asked where Lincecum made his biggest improvement on Sunday, Scioscia said: "I think just his strike percentage with all his pitches. He was in the zone early, got his secondary pitches in the game and pitched a strong seven innings."

Kubitza DFA'd, Alburquerque up: Kyle Kubitza, at one point considered the Angels' third baseman of the future, was designated for assignment on Monday, part of a series of moves to clear space on the 40-man roster for right-handed relievers Al Alburquerque and A.J. Achter.

Kubitza was acquired from the Braves in January 2015 for starting-pitching prospect Ricardo Sanchez, who at that point was only 17 years old. But Kubitza batted .271/.357/.433 in Triple-A last year and .253/.349/.366 in Triple-A this year. He also isn't as advanced defensively as the Angels' other third-base prospect, former first-round pick Kaleb Cowart.

Alburquerque, signed to a $1.1 million contract over the offseason, had a 2.49 ERA in Triple-A, striking out 25 batters but also issuing 10 walks in 21 2/3 innings. Achter, with a 4.50 ERA in Triple-A, is in his fourth stint with the Angels.

Heaney progressing, not throwing: Angels starter Andrew Heaney received an ultrasound on his damaged ulnar collateral ligament to check on the progress of the stem-cell therapy he began six weeks earlier. Heaney was told that his UCL "is healing up," but does not known when he can resume throwing.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said Heaney will have a follow-up ultrasound in two to three weeks.

"I don't know what the timeline is," Heaney said, "so in that sense it's a little discouraging, just from a peace-of-mind thing. But as far as actual positive signs -- it's positive."

Simmons getting close: Andrelton Simmons "made a lot of progress" while playing for Triple-A Salt Lake this past weekend and could be activated before the end of this three-game series against the Twins. Simmons was in the Salt Lake Bees' lineup on Monday along with left fielder Daniel Nava, who's on the disabled list with a left groin strain.

Other injury updates: Mike Trout made his fourth start at designated hitter on Monday, one day after taking a fastball to his right thumb and coming out of the game in the eighth inning. … Geovany Soto caught a bullpen session for the first time since undergoing surgery on his right knee on May 19 and has been taking batting practice. He could start a rehab assignment before the end of the week. … C.J. Wilson, shut down with recurring shoulder pain shortly after making a rehab start on May 25, played long toss on Monday. … Jose Alvarez was available on Monday despite taking a comebacker to the right shin on Sunday.

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