Is Vogelsong headed to the bullpen?
Ryan Vogelsong is 1-4 with an 8.04 ERA in eight starts this year. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
DENVER – Ryan Vogelsong had a lengthy conversation with Giants manager Bruce Bochy in which the struggling right-hander volunteered to pitch out of the bullpen, should the club need him.
Bochy reserved the right to take up Vogelsong on his offer if he needs to cover some innings during this four-game series at Coors Field. But the current plan remains to run Vogelsong back out there for his next turn in the rotation, which would come Monday when the Giants begin a homestand against the Washington Nationals
“This guy’s done a lot,” Bochy said. “He’s earned some things. If you want to call it a longer leash, that’s something he’s earned.”
Vogelsong is 1-4 with a 8.06 ERA and just one quality start out of eight assignments this season. He lasted just two innings Wednesday night –- his shortest major league start in almost nine years –- as the Giants made two damaging errors behind him in a 11-3 loss at Toronto.
It was a two-game series to forget. That’s exactly what Bochy hopes to do.
“We’re hoping when we crossed the border, we picked up our game where we left it,” he said.
The Giants enter this four-game series with a nine-game winning streak against the improved Rockies, but no long man behind emergency glass should Matt Cain fail to pitch deep into the game.
Chad Gaudin, with all seriousness, said he felt good one day after throwing 72 pitches in relief of Vogelsong and said he could pitch if needed. Gaudin said he wasn’t being macho. He really could face a few batters.
“You’re asking me how I feel today? I feel I could pitch today,” he said. “Next week I could throw 75 pitches and be hanging. It’s one day to the next.
“I mean, that’s my job -– be available every day. That’s what I signed up for. That’s the role, remember? You’ve got to be able to bounce back and be ready to go. Obviously there’s something god-given about it. But you can’t expect it to be there every day. You can’t have a lack of preparation or maintenance.”
Gaudin recalled a time in 2009 when he threw 98 pitches in a five-inning start for the Padres, then came back on one day of rest to pitch two relief innings in an 18-inning game.
Bochy, told of Gaudin’s comments, almost jumped out of his seat. Clearly, the manager isn’t going to take Gaudin up on the offer to pitch Thursday.
“I’m not surprised, but … we’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” Bochy said.
Getting back to Vogelsong, Bochy said the right-hander was in a good frame of mind when the two men spoke “for quite awhile."
“As tough as it was, he said he actually felt at times that he threw some pretty good pitches,” Bochy said. “He said, 'Hey, if you need me in the 'pen the next couple days, I’m available. I know with my short outing you used the 'pen quite a bit. If you need me, I’m available.'”
The Giants are hoping they’ll be able to get Cain deep into the game so the bullpen will be fresh for the remainder of the series. The right-hander certainly rescued them last time when he threw eight innings.
Cain wasn’t in Toronto, as you probably know. The Giants didn’t want to mess up his body clock when they were playing just two games on the East Coast; they would have sent Cain ahead a day early anyway, since they didn’t arrive at their hotel until after 3 a.m. MDT.
Cain received some grief from teammates for getting the Roger Clemens travel schedule.
“Well, the players were giving him a hard time,” Bochy said. “He’s getting on me, 'You’re the one who wanted me to stay.'”
One final pregame note: Cain defeated Hunter Pence in a spirited chess match in the clubhouse. After Henry Schulman tweeted about it, the Giants’ official twitter account was inspired to ask fans which Giants player they would challenge to a board game, and what they would play.
The responses were beyond hilarious. Nicole Vogelsong responded that she’d play Twister with her husband. One fan chose Monopoly with Jeremy Affeldt, since he’d give the money back. Another fan chose Hungry Hungry Hippos with Pablo Sandoval.
But the winner has to be Greg “The Big Russian” Marinec, who works in the Giants’ client relations department. His choice?
Cranium. With Bruce Bochy.