Tim Lincecum's 2018 minor-league debut draws mixed results

Tim Lincecum is officially on the comeback trail. After a year away from the game, Lincecum made his minor-league debut for the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A team Monday night.

Lincecum, who is being used as a reliever, allowed two runs on one hit during one inning of work. The 33-year-old told Levi Weaver of The Athletic he was dealing with nerves early on, but came out of the appearance feeling healthy.

How did Lincecum look?

Reviews of Lincecum’s performance were pretty mixed. He struggled early, walking the first batter he faced and then allowed an RBI double. After retiring the next hitter, Lincecum threw a wild pitch that allowed the second run to score.

Velocity was also a problem, Weaver noted that Lincecum hit 90 mph with his fastball on his first pitch, but then had trouble reaching that level again. That could be a result of this being Lincecum’s first game action in a while. It’s something worth watching as he continues his rehab assignment, though Lincecum hasn’t averaged over 90 mph with the pitch since 2013.

There were encouraging signs, though. Lincecum seemed to settle in as things went along, striking out the last two batters of the inning.

Tim Lincecum finally made his 2018 debut for the Rangers’ Triple-A team. (Getty Images)

Why is Lincecum in the minors?

Despite being out of baseball in 2017, Lincecum signed a major-league deal with the Rangers. Lincecum did some work with the team in spring training, but never appeared in a game. Prior to his first appearance, he was placed on the disabled list with a blister. The team eventually transferred him to the 60-day DL due to the issue.

Those 60 days are coming to an end quickly, and it’s time for the Rangers to see whether Lincecum still has something left. If he proves to be both healthy and effective, he could be back in the majors around late May or early June.

What’s next for Lincecum?

After getting out of his first appearance feeling healthy, Lincecum is in for more rehab outings. Players can remain on a rehab assignment for 30 days, so he’ll have roughly a month to prove he’s capable of pitching in the majors again.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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