Lincecum still honing heater; Center field job up in air as Blanco pushes Pagan for playing time 

click to enlarge Tim Lincecum is still struggling with his fastball, something he hopes to rectify before his Opening Day start. - MATT KARTOZIAN/ US PRESSWIRE
  • Matt Kartozian/ US Presswire
  • Tim Lincecum is still struggling with his fastball, something he hopes to rectify before his Opening Day start.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Tim Lincecum had a nothing-special start Tuesday.

To be special, he’ll need to tighten the control on his fastball, which went off-course a few times in a five-inning stint — he allowed two runs and five hits — as part of a 5-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

He’ll have one more “modified” start in which he’ll throw a few innings before Opening Day.

Lincecum acknowledged being unhappy going to three-ball counts twice on fellow pitcher Brad Mills. He also walked two batters while striking out two.

“It’s been frustrating as a pitcher just knowing that you can’t control a fastball ... your go-to pitch and the one every other pitch works off of,” Lincecum said. “When it’s not working and you can’t throw a strike to a pitcher who’s not swinging the bat, that’s frustrating.”

In spring training this year, “I wanted to try to eliminate some of the walk issues I’ve had in the past and throw more strikes. It seems to be an ongoing process,” he said.

The Giants’ ace was much more enthusiastic about working with catcher Buster Posey, who turned 25 Tuesday, for the first time in a spring game.

“It was great getting him back out there and get a chance to throw to him outside of a bullpen [session],” Lincecum said.

PAGAN vs. BLANCO

Angel Pagan broke an 0-for-24 skid by stroking an eighth-inning double. But then he was promptly picked off second base.

Meanwhile, Gregor Blanco, went 2-for-4, raising his average to .356 and stole two bases.

Might Blanco, a nonroster invitee, start in center field and not the offseason addition Pagan?

“I can’t answer that right now,” Bochy said. “He’s done a great job. He’s made a lot of noise in this camp. We’re excited to have him. I can’t answer it, though.”

As for Pagan’s scuffles, Bochy said: “I see him battling himself a little to be honest.”

In general, “We’re not swinging the bats very well,” Bochy said. “It’s been going on four or five days now. You’d like to see the offense pick up a little bit. That was our biggest issue last year: scoring runs.”

BELT WELL-ARMED

Even as a first baseman, Brandon Belt showed a tremendous throwing arm. He caught a pop-up near the fence in foul ground in short right field, then fired a bullet to third base, keeping Albert Pujols, who had doubled, from even thinking about trying to tag up and advance.

SANCHEZ ON A TEAR

Hector Sanchez continued his bid for a roster spot with a pinch-hit single in the eighth. That raised his average to .405. If they add Sanchez, the Giants likely will have three catchers on the roster, though Sanchez would be viewed almost exclusively as a hitter.

SCARY SCENE

A fan sitting behind the Angels’ third-base dugout was hit by a piece of a bat shattered by the Angels’ Mark Trumbo. She was escorted to a hospital across the street, where she was treated, but she managed to walk on her own. “That was a shame,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “That thing ... was helicoptering. You were praying it wasn’t going to hit anyone, and unfortunately it did.” The Giants identified the injured fan as Kathleen Dunnivan, 50, of Bethesda, Md.

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Mike Tulumello

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