Former Pirate Vogelsong goes around the world and back
SAN FRANCISCO — Ryan Vogelsong stood on the cut grass at AT&T Park in his crisp San Francisco Giants uniform giving an interview for Japanese broadcaster NHK in English. No need for an interpreter.
The backdrop on the scoreboard said it all: World Series.
Halfway around the world and back, Vogelsong's journey is ready to go global. The right-hander will start Game 3 in Detroit opposite Anibal Sanchez on Saturday night looking to pitch the Giants one win away from another championship and cap a comeback that has become more improbable each time out.
“A lot of faith. A lot of hard work,” said Vogelsong, who will take the mound with San Francisco ahead, 2-0, in the best-of-seven series. “You also have to have some things go your way to get opportunities.”
For so many years, they so often didn't.
Vogelsong was drafted in the fifth round by the Giants in 1998 and became the primary piece of a trade to get Jason Schmidt from the Pirates in 2001. The promising prospect later had elbow ligament replacement surgery, failed in the big leagues, bounced out of the minors, had mixed results in Japan, then struggled with the Phillies' and Angels' minor league affiliates and at age 33 figured his career might be over.
One last chance came a year ago from the most unlikely team: the defending World Series champion Giants. Vogelsong, now 35, didn't make the club out of spring training. He went back to Triple-A Fresno, not an easy decision with his wife, Nicole, and son, Ryder, then 20 months old, left to share the burden.
While Vogelsong was sitting in the stands at a game in Las Vegas charting pitches between starts, his manager asked for his cell phone number. Barry Zito had been placed on the disabled list, and the Giants were looking for a replacement.
Sure enough, just before Vogelsong boarded the bus, his phone rang. Giants vice president Bobby Evans was on the other end with news that set Vogelsong on a path to this World Series: He was heading back to the big leagues to make a fill-in start for San Francisco against — who else? — the Pirates.
He held the Pirates to four hits and two runs in 5 2⁄3 innings for his first major league win in almost five years.
“I just believe that God had a plan for me this whole time,” Vogelsong said. “I feel like all the stuff that I went through ... is stuff that He was doing for me to get me prepared for this moment.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ex-Brewers star Hart hopes to prove to Pirates he still can play
- Pirates notebook: Tabata rediscovering his power
- Lincoln tries to rejuvenate career in second stint with Pirates
- Pirates willing to consider high salary to keep star McCutchen
- Rossi: Pirates better with Maz on scene
- Pirates notebook: Nutting expects club to win division title
- Pirates notebook: Team has big plans for newcomer Kang
- The Starting Nine: Silver linings for Alvarez
- Team interaction important to Pirates veteran pitcher Burnett
- Pirates ready to prove they have best outfield in baseball
- North Side start-up takes swing at mapping hitters