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Giants lose to Brewers, 6-3; Belt homers, Lincecum pulled with stiff neck

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Will the Giants be sellers at the Cactus League trade deadline next week?

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants played another spring training game without winning it, which brings us to that dumb, uncomfortable stage of pretending that we're totally comfortable with this, while secretly getting worried about the "L, L, L, T, L, L" string. It's physically impossible to avoid a negative reaction, even if every rational cell in your body is reminding you this stuff is a test pattern.

Do you even remember the Giants' record in the Cactus League five years ago? Can you come within eight wins of that record? Can you even come close to the total number of games they play every spring? How many Harry S. Jordan winners can you name without looking it up? The worst part of the meaninglessness is that you have to be reminded of the meaninglessness by every insecure writer scared of accidentally implying meaningfulness.

Yet it's still abhorrent and distasteful when the Giants lose a bunch of games in the spring. So odd, this brain of ours. If only there were something to help us f...

Saaaaaay, that's a nice dinger! Maybe there's something to this spring stuff, after all. The Giants would love to have their first 30-homer player in a decade -- they had at least one in every season from 1993 and 2004 for some reason -- and maybe Belt's the guy. Or maybe Ellis Burks, Jr. is the guy, and we'll have to wait another 20 years. Either way, that was a nice dinger.

The lede in this particular game is that Tim Lincecum pitched poorly, but he also woke up with a stiff neck and left after just one inning, so there's a satisfactory explanation. The explanation for why he's the de facto fifth starter after the last three seasons is less satisfactory, but wait until April ... 19 before you get too cynical and weird.

BULLPEN BATTLE

George Kontos pitched 1⅔ scoreless innings, struck out a batter without issuing a walk, and prompted Henry Schulman to remind you indirectly that Kontos's buttocks are still a thing.

That is one firm opinion.

Jean Machi also has a sculpted physique, but it's more like Ray Harryhausen-sculpted, which means Kontos has the edge in a couple categories. Kontos has allowed one run this spring, with Machi allowing three and Hunter Strickland allowing four. All of them have strong strikeout-to-walk ratios, so maybe -- maybe -- we're reading too much into small samples.

Still, Kontos is pitching the way he needs to if he's going to stay in the organization. While "pitcher injury" is still the likeliest way for Kontos to stick around, he's pitching well enough to force the issue in another way. The odds of "late-spring trade" are creeping up.

AOKI UPDATE

From USA TODAY Sports, we have our first official Norichika Aoki picture.

aoki

Treasure it, but don't linger. There will be more. That is the spring training of Norichika Aoki pictures.