Sabean addresses Lincecum trade rumors
Ryan Vogelsong is currently on track for an Aug. 9 return to the Giants rotation. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN FRANCISCO – Ryan Vogelsong could have relaxed in Cabo over the All-Star break. Instead, he opted for the 110-degree heat of greater Phoenix.
That’s where he’d find Dave Groeschner, the Giants’ head athletic trainer, and a pitching mound at his disposal.
Vogelsong went after his rehab work with the usual gusto over the break, throwing mound sessions Monday and Wednesday that put him on track for an Aug. 9 return to the rotation if all continues to go well.
You knew Vogelsong would step on the gas in his rehab from a crushed right pinky finger. Turns out the Giants are of the same mind. Manager Bruce Bochy said he would take Vogelsong even if he’s limited to 80 pitches, provided the bullpen was in decent shape to cover him.
An Aug. 9 return could mean that Barry Zito would have to make just one more road start. He’s got a 9.89 ERA and the club is 0-8 in his starts away from AT&T Park.
So there’s urgency to get Vogelsong back in the fold.
“We’ll make sure he’s ready,” Bochy said. “It’s a pretty good sign that he’s ready to face hitters.”
Vogelsong will throw live batting practice on Saturday, then start a minor league rehab assignment – likely with Single-A San Jose, Bochy said. A day after the team visits the White House on July 29, Vogelsong plans to make the short trip to Double-A Richmond where he’d make two starts for the Flying Squirrels.
“Those would be the last two times, but it all depends on how they go and how I come out of everything,” Vogelsong said. “I assume it will go well.”
Vogelsong was encouraged by his two mound sessions over the break. He threw all his pitches and stretched his pitch count to 61 on Wednesday.
“It gets better every time,” said Vogelsong, who broke his finger when he was hit by a pitch May 20. “My mechanics feel like they’re coming back.”
The Giants haven’t decided on a starter to pair with Zito for Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Reds. It’ll be either Mike Kickham or Eric Surkamp, whose rehab from Tommy John surgery had gone well before he had a rough start for Fresno the other day.
Joaquin Arias (appendectomy) might be activated by the middle of next week, Bochy said.
More positive reports from Arizona: Angel Pagan already is doing agility drills, hitting and playing catch following hamstring surgery June 25. Bochy is more optimistic that Pagan will be able to return in September.
Tim Lincecum’s arm is still attached to his shoulder. Just in case you were curious. He said he feels fine after his 148-pitch no-hitter July 13.
And no, he's not getting traded.
Also in case you were curious: The Reds are scheduled to pitch Homer Bailey on Sunday. So he’d miss the four-game series at AT&T Park. No Lincecum-Bailey matchup on Monday. Dusty Baker’s flair for the dramatic isn’t what it used to be.
Neat scene in the clubhouse: Kensuke Tanaka visited with Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese player to appear in the big leagues when the Giants called him up in 1964. Murakami and Tanaka signed baseballs for each other. I wonder if they added No.37, since they share that number as Giants. Never say Mike Murphy doesn’t have a sense of history.
The world champion All Blacks are here at AT&T Park as part of a promotion with Air New Zealand, and anyone who knows me understands what a big deal this is. New Zealand is my favorite place to vacation – been there three times and going for a fourth trip this winter – and rugby is a national obsession there.
Vogelsong, George Kontos and some other Giants players met with the All Blacks to exchange some tips about the two sports. Vogelsong, especially, jumped at the opportunity.
When he played in Japan, he lived in the same apartment complex as a few former All Blacks players who were there competing on the Japanese professional rugby circuit.
“There weren’t many English speakers there,” Vogelsong said. “So we’d hang out and watch rugby on TV.”
Air New Zealand has selected a few Giants fans for a whirlwind trip. They’ll fly in business premier class to Auckland on Friday night, bungee jump off the Auckland Harbor Bridge, take a helicopter for lunch at Huka Lodge near Taupo, go wine tasting, and then fly right back in time for Sunday’s game.
What, no meet-and-greet with Gandalf?