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New-look Lincecum plans to not fade away

Published: Friday, February 8, 2013 at 6:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 8, 2013 at 6:51 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO

Friday. Giants Media Day. Tim Lincecum walks in with a new look. Call it a new head.

Those long locks that used to hang down his back like laundry — forget them. Gone. Outta here.

His hair is short and neatly combed with a sharp part on the left side. He’s wearing black-rimmed glasses.

I’m thinking he looks like someone I ought to know. A singer, maybe. I’m trying to work this out.

He says he went to Cancun in the offseason with his girlfriend, first time he’s been out of the country except for games in Toronto.

“I didn’t know you wear glasses,” I say.

“It’s more of a look,” he says.

Meaning the glass is plain glass, non-prescription.

Buddy Holly.

That’s who Lincecum looks like. I expect him to leap up from the table and start belting out “Peggy Sue,” “Rave On,” and “That’ll Be the Day.”

He doesn’t.

He says he spent the offseason working out with a fitness group in Washington state, got his weight back to 170 from the low 160s. Feels strong. Doesn’t eat junk food anymore. Will go back to the full windup. “I’m hoping to get back on my horse and be in the rotation,” he says.

Says he lost confidence last season. “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. You go out there and you’re used to things going well and, all of a sudden, they’re not going well. You go back to pressuring yourself and doubting yourself. You start feeding off the negatives.”

Says his confidence is back. Maybe it’s the hair and the glasses.

“Right now, I want to get back to that elite status I once had,” he says.

Says his relationship with Buster Posey is groovy despite rumors you heard last season. “We didn’t throw to each other many times last year. It worked out in the playoffs. That’s going to be a pretty good confidence boost for us both, to springboard us into spring training and know we’re on the same page, know we’re fighting for the same things.”

“Are you still a hard thrower?” I ask.

“I guess it depends on who’s hitting,” he says, not answering the question.

“Compared to you when you were younger,” I say.

“Obviously, you have to learn more things. And it depends on whether you want to accept that and make the change. Some people won’t have to make the change because they have the power fastball. I’m just trying to adapt, and last year was a big question mark for me.”

Still hasn’t answered the question.

Someone else says, “You still describe yourself as power pitcher?”

“I would like to.”

“You look like Buddy Holly,” I say. I lack impulse control.

“I’d have to get bigger glasses to be Buddy Holly,” he says.

“You know who Buddy Holly is?” I ask.

“Sure,” he says.

“God love you,” I say.

Please come with me as I walk around the room, players and coaches sitting at various tables for interviews. Here is Bruce Bochy. Does he have any idea where Lincecum is in his comeback?

“Really, no,” he says. “He looks in great shape. That’s as much as I can say. Without seeing him throw, I can’t tell you where he’s at.” Bochy says Lincecum is a starter, no question about it.

What about Lincecum’s new look?

“I like it,” Bochy says. “He’s got that studious look about him. Actually looks younger. First time I saw him yesterday, took me back. I knew he’d gotten his hair cut. Until you see him, it doesn’t hit you as hard with the glasses and short hair.

Next, I come to Posey, talking with several writers.

How does he feel about catching Lincecum more in the upcoming season?

“I look forward to working with every guy and having better relationships with them,” he says, not answering the question. “I think that’s important for me being a catcher and for any guy on the staff to continue to grow together. Timmy looks great, has a new hairdo.”

“You’re saying you and Tim will continue to grow together,” I say. “How come you hadn’t grown before?”

“Good question,” Posey says. “I don’t think it’s that we hadn’t grown. There were certain days last year when I was playing first or had a day off. Bochy’s the one who makes the lineup.”

“You like Tim?” I ask.

“Yeah, I do. I’ll just go ahead and say this so no one else asks. Tim and I are friends. There’s no issue there. So, yeah, all is good.”

You can rest easy now.

Here’s our last stop. Brian Sabean.

On how he expects Lincecum to perform: “There’s nothing more powerful than the great postseason he had and the fact that he’s in the last year of a contract.”

“Is Lincecum turning into a different pitcher than he was when he was young?” I ask.

“I think you have to say that from the mere fact he’s no longer a power pitcher. The velocity is down. I don’t think it’s going to go back up. As we saw in the playoffs, he’s got plenty of stuff to get major league hitters out.”

Sabean’s answer about Lincecum being a power pitcher is different from Lincecum’s answer about Lincecum being a power pitcher.

Someone asks Sabean about Lincecum’s look:

“Very professorial. Someone said he looks like Buddy Holly.”

“That’s what I said,” I say.

“Does he know who Buddy Holly is?” Sabean asks, because this obviously is the key question.

“He does,” I say. “He even said to me, ‘I need bigger glasses to look like Buddy Holly.’”

“Somebody told me the glasses aren’t real,” Sabean says. “Nice prop.”

Maybe more than a prop. New look. New outlook. New start.

Great Buddy Holly hit — “Not Fade Away.”

Could be Lincecum’s anthem.

For more on the world of sports in general, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn@pressdemocrat.com.

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