The uniform is different. The flowing locks of shaggy brown hair that once protruded from his cap are gone. He’s lost a little zip off his fastball, too.
Even so, “The Freak” came back as a force.
Tim Lincecum made a winning return to the majors, restarting his career after nearly a year away with six sharp innings and several ovations to lead the visiting Los Angeles Angels over the Oakland Athletics, 7-1, Saturday.
“It just kind of felt like riding a bike again,” Lincecum said. “After that first inning, everything kind of went away and I could just get back to work and making my pitches.”
Sporting a bright red hat and Angels jersey that was in stark contrast to the black and orange he wore across the Bay Bridge for nine seasons with the San Francisco Giants, Lincecum gave up one run and four hits.
The four-time All-Star struck out two and walked two.
The 32-year-old righty hadn’t pitched in the majors since last June 27. He had hip surgery in September, signed with the Angels in May and made three starts in the minors.
Lincecum didn’t quite have the blazing fastball that he used to win back-to-back NL Cy Young Awards, but he was still strong in his debut with the Angels.
Lincecum retired seven straight during one stretch and got A’s slugger Khris Davis to ground into a double play after walking the leadoff batter in the fifth.
Mike Trout homered and doubled for the Angels. Johnny Giovatella also homered to help Los Angeles to its third win in four games.