- Associated Press - Saturday, March 29, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum escaped what appeared to be a serious injury with only a bruised left knee in his final spring start.

Now, he hopes he won’t miss his first outing of the regular season, scheduled for Thursday at Arizona.

The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner left Friday night’s 4-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics after going down writhing in pain when he was hit on the inside of his knee by a grounder from Daric Barton in the fourth inning.

Lincecum tried to run toward first but immediately fell to the ground, unable to put any pressure on his leg, but said later it was “dead leg” from the initial force and pain of the ball hitting him. He limped off the field with the assistance of two trainers. X-rays were negative.

“That’s always a relief,” Lincecum said. “We’re just going to keep treating it until it gets better. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. Usually it’s that second day it kind of hurts the most, but right now it feels pretty good. … Not too worried. I knew it hit me in a good spot. It didn’t hit me in the front of the kneecap. I just wanted to walk it off.”

Oakland starter Jesse Chavez didn’t allow a hit until Angel Pagan’s one-out double in the sixth and was backed by John Jaso’s solo homer.

Sam Fuld added a bases-loaded triple off Dan Runzler in the sixth.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy isn’t ruling out Lincecum to make his start against the Diamondbacks. The pitcher will be re-evaluated Saturday.

“I’m sure he’s going to be pretty sore for a couple of days,” Bochy said. “If I had to guess right now, he’d be OK to start on Thursday.”

STARTING TIME

Athletics: Chavez dazzled in his fifth start of the spring and is showing manager Bob Melvin he can be a reliable replacement in an injury-plagued rotation.

Chavez is now among the starters as Jarrod Parker recovers from season-ending Tommy John surgery and A.J. Griffin nurses his own elbow injury that will sideline him early in the year.

Chavez allowed only the one hit over 5 1-3 innings, struck out five and walked one with a hit batter to finish the spring with a 2.22 ERA.

Giants: When Lincecum limped off, it appeared he might be seriously hurt.

Lincecum, who signed a $35 million, two-year contract in late October to stay with San Francisco, allowed three hits and one run in four innings. He struck out four and walked three.

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