The pitching news from spring training started out bad Monday after the Giants were coming off a terrible outing from Barry Zito.
Things got worse when word spread that Eric Surkamp, viewed to be the first option for the starting rotation if anyone got hurt or pounded, was being shut down for a week with irritated elbow.
On Sunday, GM Brian Sabaen hinted that the Giants might need a No. 5 starter OTHER THAN Vogelsong on April 15.
So Giants were holding their breath when Ryan Vogelsong took the mound Monday against the Royals in his first big-league game this spring after suffering a back strain last month.
Well, Giants fans, exhale.
Vogelsong gave up one run on two hits in 2 2/3 innings, striking out two in his 39-pitch outing. Both Kansas City hits deflected off Giants outfielders. With a little help, Vogelsong could have sailed through a hitless outing.
“I defintiely felt better the second and third inning mechanically and rhythm-wise,” Vogelsong said. “I kind of fell into a good rhythm after the first inning, get that first one out of the way and get back to business.”
After the game, manager Bruce Bochy called Vogelsong’s outing a huge relief and said the plan is for Vogelsong to work towards making his first start on April 15 at home against the Pirates. That means a trip to the DL to open the season.
CSNBayArea.com’s Andrew Baggarly wrote that Vogelsong will pitch next Saturday and will throw 50 pitches. MoreSplashHits believes that Saturday start will be in a minor league game so the Giants can backdate his DL stint early enough for him to be activated on April 15.
His next outing would then come on April 5, either in extended spring training or possibly the Fresno Grizzlies’ season opener at Tucson (although spring training seems more likely).
Finally, Vogelsong could be slotted to pitch April 10 for the Grizzlies at Las Vegas. That would put him right on line to start 15th against the Bucs.
“If that’s what they tell me to do, that’s what I need to do,” Vogelsong said.
Sounds good to us.
- 3B Pablo Sandoval, who has been scuffling this spring, got things together Monday. He went 3 for 5 with an infield, a double and a game-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth.
- OF Angel Pagan, who also has been scuffling, continued to scuffle. He went 0 for 4 with a strikeout. The Chronicle’ Henry Schulman tweeted that Pagan looks lost at the plate. Need more evidence? Pagan’s .176 spring average is worse than Aaron Rowand’s .182. Yikes!
- Another Giant whose spring keeps getting worse is Ryan Theriot. Theriot rolled his ankle last week but was back at shortstop Monday, with his .194 spring average. Then Theriot went to catch a pick off attempt by Vogelsong at second base when the ball glanced off his glove and hit him in the nose. Theriot was bleeding heavily, but the Giants don’t believe his nose is broken. He went for X-rays afterwards. Even if it’s not broken, the Giants face a Thursday deadline to decide whether to guarantee Theriot’s $1.25 million contract.
- So time is running short.
- C Buster Posey caught seven more innings Monday, and went 1 for 2 with a double and a walk. His spring average is .333. He’ll catchTim Lincecum on Tuesday in his first back-to-back catching effort of the season.
- Brian Wilson pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hits and striking out one before declaring himself ready to go for the season.
Lincecum will make his second-to-last spring start when the Giants face the Angels at 1:05 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.