Only someone who has set an extremely high performance bar could be described as "struggling" with a 5-1 record and a 3.00 ERA.
But after three straight rough outings by San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum, that was the word being used.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy met with the reigning two-time NL Cy Young winner on Thursday, a day after Lincecum gave up six earned runs in 42/3 innings againsgt Washington and took his first loss of the season.
"We talked about a lot of things," Bochy said. "When things aren't going so well for a player there are some times as a manager you do want to talk to them to see where they're at. I talked to Timmy and basically he's fine. He's a little frustrated. This guy has set the bar so high that he's tough on himself when he doesn't pitch like he's accustomed to."
Lincecum was nearly flawless in April while winning his first four starts and appeared on his way to a possible third straight Cy Young.
But he has had only one win over his last six starts.
Both MLB.com and ESPN.com reported that righthander Stephen Strasburg will make his debut on the mound for the Nationals during a June 8-10 series against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Washington.
Meanwhile the hoopla surrounding the No. 1 draft pick of 2009 continues to grow. Strasburg's 2010 Bowman Chrome SuperFractor rookie card is being sold on eBay, with the bidding hitting $16,101 on Thursday afternoon from an opening price of 99 cents. The auction ends Saturday.
No telling what it'll be when he actually plays in a major-league game.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said it will not have the Justice Department look into whether Sammy Sosa lied at a March 2005 hearing, when he stated: "I have never taken illegal performance- enhancing drugs."
The San Francisco Giants plan to retire the No. 20 jersey worn by Hall of Famer Monte Irvin, the first African American ever signed by the franchise. He will be honored June 26 before a game against the Boston Red Sox. Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry and Orlando Cepeda are expected to attend.
Cardinals righthander Kyle Lohse will undergo surgery on his right forearm on Friday at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles. . . . Cubs righthander Carlos Zambrano is day-to-day after going to Northwestern Memorial Hospital on Wednesday with lower abdominal pain. Tests ruled out appendicitis.