Bay Area Baseball

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May 22, 2013
Vogelsong starts road to recovery, plus Wednesday lineups

SAN FRANCISCO -- Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong was in the Giants' clubhouse this morning, wearing a cast and sling on his right arm a day after having surgery on his fractured pitching hand. Vogelsong said he hasn't had much pain in the hand and the sling is "more for comfort -- and so people don't run into me."

Vogelsong said the concern right now is more with making sure he doesn't develop an infection -- he had five pins inserted in his pinky finger during the surgery. Vogelsong suffered a dislocated knuckle and two fractures when he was hit on the hand swinging at an inside pitch Monday night.

Vogelsong said that even the initial hit wasn't too painful. The fact that it will likely keep him out of the rotation for at least six to eight weeks, he said, still hasn't really sunk in.

"I think once I start missing starts," Vogelsong said. "I think the thing that can help the most is if the team keeps playing well. ... You've got to try to look at positive sides of things -- get this thing right, get healthy and come back when it's crunch time and hopefully be able to contribute down the stretch."

Monday night, Vogelsong had said if he had to injure one finger on his pitching hand, the pinky might be best because it factors the least into gripping his pitches. He admitted today that was kind of a guess -- "You don't really think much about what the pinky's doing -- and said he'll have to wait until he can start throwing again to gauge the effect.

One encouraging factor is that he doesn't think the injured hand will keep him from doing rotator cuff and scapula exercises to keep up strength in his throwing shoulder.

"I think that's going to be a big thing, keeping my shoulder strong in that sense," he said. "Just get back to throwing when I can."

As for when that will be, Vogelsong hasn't yet started setting timetables for himself. He said he'll concentrate first on letting the bone heal up, then start thinking about recovery time after he gets the cast off. He said he plans to remain with the team in the meantime, including on road trips.

"Yeah, I'm staying with these guys," he said. "I can bring some things to the table even though I'm not on the field."

One of those things is support for his rotation mates as they try to dig themselves out of an early-season rut. Vogelsong himself looked to be turning a corner Monday night with five scoreless innings before the injury. His 8.06 ERA before that start was a major factor in the Giants' rotation having one of the higher ERAs in the National League, but nobody aside from Madison Bumgarner has been particularly consistent for the first month and a half.

"We're going to be fine," Vogelsong said. "These guys are really good. They'll be fine. We had spots last year like this and it worked out pretty good last year.

"I think it stands out a little more when your starting pitching's struggling," he went on. "Everybody's going to go through their struggles during the season, but when everybody's doing it at the same time it sticks out a little bit more."

No doubt it will kill Vogelsong, a notorious competitor, not being able to try to help the rotation turn things around over the next two months. But he said he knows it's important not to try to rush his recovery and give the finger a chance to heal properly.

"I work hard in there as it is, so that's not going to be a problem," he said. "Knowing what I went through with Tommy John and stuff, it's probably going to be more them trying to back me off.

"It's just my nature, that I always want to do a little bit more than I should at times. So it's probably going to be the other way where they'll need to back me off. And I'm just going to have to be smart."

* Here's the Giants' lineup today as they go for a sweep of the Nationals:

CF Pagan
2B Scutaro
C Posey
RF Pence
1B Pill
3B Arias
LF Torres
SS Crawford
P Bumgarner

And the Nationals' lineup against Bumgarner:

CF Span
RF Harper
3B Zimmerman
SS Desmond
1B LaRoche
LF Moore
2B Espinosa
C Suzuki
P Gonzalez

* Pablo Sandoval gets the day off as he tries to shake the sickness he has been battling the past couple days. Sandoval got an IV before last night's game, but was clearly still under the weather even after his walk-off home run in the 10th inning.

Brandon Belt has some back tightness. Manager Bruce Bochy said Belt could probably play today, but with the Giants facing a tough left-hander in Gio Gonzalez, and with Brett Pill around, it made sense to give Belt a rest as well.

* According to the Giants' game notes, ESPN measured Sandoval's monster walk-off homer last night at 464 feet -- the longest of his career. That's pretty good for a healthy man. For a sick one? "Even more amazing," Bochy said.

* If Marco Scutaro gets a hit today he'll match his career-long hitting streak of 20 games, which he set with the Giants in the second half of last season. Gonzalez has been tough on him in the past -- Scutaro is 2-for-17 against the Nationals' starter in his career with a walk and two strikeouts.

-- Matt Kawahara

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About Bay Area Baseball

Matt KawaharaMatt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee’s sports staff in fall 2011.
Phone: (916) 321-1015.
On Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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