Sports

San Francisco's Lincecum deals in return

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Tim Lincecum would prefer to speed up his spring.

The 23-year-old has been slowed by a mildly strained right groin and on Sunday made only his fourth start for the San Francisco Giants, a 4-2 loss to the Texas Rangers.

"I've been dying for these games to come up," said Lincecum, who allowed two runs and seven hits over a spring-high six innings. "I'm anxious to get the season going."

Lincecum hadn't appeared in a major-league game since March 12, when he allowed four runs and six hits in two innings. He rebounded from that rough outing by giving up two runs over five innings against Class-A Stockton on March 17.

He gave up both runs Sunday on Ben Broussard's second home run of the spring but also struck out four consecutive batters over the third and fourth innings. Lincecum walked one and struck out seven.

"Other than the home run, it all felt good," Lincecum said. "My body felt good, and my arm felt good. I shouldn't have gotten into so many 3-2 counts, but other than that it felt good."

Lincecum is penciled in as the Giants' third starter with his season debut scheduled to come April 2 against Los Angeles.

"Our starters have been doing a good job, and he extended that," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Lincecum. "He threw well. It looks like he's on track, so that's good news for us."

Former Modesto Junior College pitcher Erick Threets was tagged with the loss, giving up two runs and three hits in the eighth.

Michael Young was 3 for 4 with an RBI and Marlon Byrd also homered for the Rangers, who won for the fourth time in five games.

A'S 10, HANSHIN TIGERS 2, at Tokyo -- Donnie Murphy hit a grand slam in the eighth inning, and Oakland won its final exhibition game before opening the regular season in Japan against Boston.

The A's face the Red Sox at Tokyo Dome on Tuesday and Wednesday. The March 25 game is the earliest regular-season opener in major-league history.

Murphy, who will take over for Marco Scutaro as the A's backup infielder, connected off Hanshin reliever Jeff Williams with a blast into the right-field stands that made it 10-2.

SHORT HOPS -- Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson was placed on the 15-day disabled list and will miss opening day. ... Scott Rolen broke a finger during a fielding drill, and the Blue Jays' new third baseman might not be available for opening day. ... Shannon Stewart appears to have won the job as the Blue Jays' starting left fielder after Toronto released Reed Johnson. ... The Royals optioned pitcher Luke Hochevar, the first pick in the 2006 amateur draft, to Triple-A Omaha. Hochevar was 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three spring training games, allowing seven hits and two runs in eight innings. ... Brewers left-hander Chris Capuano has a torn ligament in his pitching elbow and probably will need Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career. ... Rickie Weeks returned from a hand injury and hit a three-run homer to lead Milwaukee over Arizona 5-4. ... Left-hander Mike Hampton, coming back from two elbow injuries, put together another solid start, allowing two runs in six innings to help Atlanta beat Houston 4-2.

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