Tim Lincecum can’t buy a break these days.
Already on the disabled list since late June with a bruised forearm, a meeting with a hip specialist has revealed that Lincecum has degenerative issues in both hips. The San Francisco Giants right-hander has been dealing with hip discomfort since last season and an MRI he had Monday shows that the damage is serious enough for Bruce Bochy to throw the D-word around:
“There’s some stuff going on there,” Bochy said. “Degenerative things, which is normal with athletes.”
The Giants are saying the condition isn’t considered career-threatening and that Lincecum should be able to resume his throwing program later this week after receiving cortisone shots to alleviate the pain.
After breaking onto the scene as a rookie in 2007 and winning back-to-back NL Cy Young awards in 2008 and 2009, Lincecum has been in a steady decline since 2012.
This season his ERA is a middling 4.13, his fastball velocity as well as his strikeout and walk rates are going in the wrong direction, and with Matt Cain and Jake Peavy returning from their own injuries, Lincecum was likely going to get squeezed out of the rotation anyway. When (if?) he takes the mound again for the Giants, the bullpen beckons, just like it did last year.
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Add the hip issues to the list of concerns for the 31-year-old, who is in the final year of his contract with San Francisco. Given the important of lower body strength to pitching and his recent string of mediocre to bad performances, it’s tough to predict what’s next for Lincecum.
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