On the eve of showcasing his talents for major league teams, Tim Lincecum spoke for the first time since last season and said that a hip injury led to the struggles that derailed his career.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner will pitch for 20 or more team representatives Friday as he tries to demonstrate that he's recovered from last season's hip surgery.
"Pretty rough, to be honest with you," Lincecum said of last year to Yahoo! Sports, "because I didn't know which days were gonna be the good days and which were gonna be the bad ones. Some days my hip would bite at me. Some days it would be fine. But I didn't have a lot of stability and strength in it. I wasn't able to sustain the end of my motion, when my foot hit. It felt very erratic, very wild. It didn't feel like much of a drive. It felt like I was jumping. That's where I lost it all. The power was lost in my legs, and it didn't drive through my hips, my mid-back and up into my shoulder. I was throwing a lot with my arm."
The 31-year-old Lincecum underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his hip Sept. 3. He didn't pitch after June 27 last year because of degenerative hips and went 7-4 with a 4.13 ERA in 15 starts. That's after he pitched two no-hitters in an 11-month span against San Diego, in July 2013 and June 2014.
Lincecum wrapped up a $35 million, two-year contract that paid him $18 million last year. He spent the offseason rehabbing in Arizona rather than his regular Seattle-area routine.
Lincecum will throw in Arizona, and one of the clubs there will be his old team, the Giants. San Francisco has not committed to bringing him back, but the 31-year-old right-hander likes the idea.
"Where I end up is where I'll end up," he said, according to Yahoo. "They already have six starters. I've got to just look out for me, and if they're the No. 1 piece in the puzzle when it comes down to decision time, I'll be excited to go back."
Lincecum helped the Giants win three World Series in five years -- 2010, '12 and '14. In 2010, he pitched the Game 5 World Series clincher at Texas. Then he was a key reliever during the 2012 title run and four-game sweep of Detroit. Although Lincecum pitched his second no-hitter against the Padres on June 25, 2014, the four-time All-Star was moved to the bullpen in late August of that year.
Lincecum's showcase has been pushed back multiple times because he wasn't ready. His father and longtime pitching coach, Chris Lincecum, guaranteed in an interview with Comcast Sports Net Bay Area that his son would be pitching this year. But he will be a different pitcher than he was.
"Back in my early 20s, I felt like I was invincible," Lincecum said, according to Yahoo. "Now I kind of have an idea of the tools I get to work with and how to stay within myself and at the same time be dynamic. I want to be explosive with certain parts of the body and not be apprehensive. It has taken time to get there."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.