Snubbed Vogelsong: 'People don't take me seriously'

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Snubbed Vogelsong: 'People don't take me seriously'

SAN FRANCISCO Giants manager Bruce Bochy was concernedabout Ryan Vogelsong.

Bochy knew what a second consecutive All-Star selectionwould mean to him. He knew the validation it would bring.

He knew Vogelsong was about to get snubbed.

So he called the ultra-intense right-hander into his officeas soon as he arrived at AT&T Park on Sunday morning, and delivered thenews. In the hours before he took the ball against the Cincinnati Reds,Vogelsong flipped a clubhouse television to the selection show.

He watched thewhole thing anyway.

He knew his name wouldnt be called. It wasnt.

But maybe that was all part of his routine.

Vogelsong went out and pitched like he always does breathing fire, and with a sizable chip on his shoulder. He held the Reds tothree hits, a walk and a hit batter in seven innings, and although the Giantsblew his decision in the ninth, they accepted a gift from right fielder JayBruce while rallying for a draining, 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Vogelsong still could be named as an All-Star injuryreplacement. So could left-hander Madison Bumgarner. But listening to Vogelsongtalk, its clear his chance at validation has passed.

Shouldve pitched better, he said, with a flash in hiseyes as if he was still on the mound, still trying to throw the ball throughBuster Poseys glove.

Does the snub thicken up that chip on his shoulder?

Absolutely, came the swift reply. What it does issolidify what I told you (last month) in Anaheim. People dont take meseriously.

Last year, Bochy was the NL skipper and said his greatestAll-Star moment was to reward Vogelsong, who had gone five years without appearingin a big league game only to become a breakout success with the team that hadtraded him a decade earlier.

You heard the talk last year, that the only reason I gotthere was because of Boch, Vogelsong said. Some of that is probably true. Theother part is I was having a pretty good first half.

He is having a better half now. Vogelsongs 2.26 ERA is thelowest on the staff and tied for fourth lowest in the NL. He has thrown qualitystarts in 14 of 15 outings. He yields almost nothing at AT&T Park, where helets the sellout crowds stoke his passion on the mound.

That passion boiled over in the sixth inning, after Redsright-hander Bronson Arroyo brushed back Vogelsong twice as he tried to getdown a sacrifice bunt. Vogelsong glared at the mound after the first one puthim in the dirt. After the second one, he took two steps toward Arroyo, slammedhis bat and screamed a few choice words that an amateur lip reader might havedeciphered thusly: Vacuum bush league! What the fork are youre doing?

Benches cleared but no punches were thrown. Once order wasrestored, Vogelsong put down a successful bunt and Arroyo said something to himas he jogged back to the dugout.

He said, My bad, Vogelsong said.

Arroyo called Vogelsong after the game to apologize.

Well, I know he wasnt trying to hit me, so lets get thatout of the way, Vogelsong said. Bronson and I are friends. We played togetherin Pittsburgh. But when youre on the field between the lines, youre notfriends anymore.

Its not the first time Vogelsong reacted angrily tobrushback pitches. Last year in Florida, he slammed his bat and yelled at BurkeBadenhop after consecutive inside pitches, including one that struck him on thetriceps.

I dont think they were trying to hit me at all, Vogelsongsaid after that game last year. It just got me mad. I mean, I dont have anextra-base hit. I dont have a hit in two months.

(The most memorable part of that day was the reactionMarlins manager Jack McKeon, who called Vogelsong Volkswagen and said theright-hander overreacted. Hes lucky he didnt have to face Drysdale or Gibsonand get a haircut and a shave right quick, McKeon said.)

This time, Vogelsong heard Arroyos apology on the field.But he didnt break stride or turn his head to acknowledge it.

When the balls up and in, its not a good feeling, hesaid. It just happened. Hes battling. Youre battling. You just get fired up. Im still a little flustered, in case you cant tell.

Slights, real and imagined, are like ethanol in Vogelsongstank.

Still, Bochy would like to see Vogelsong wear an All-Staruniform again. Thats why he plans to keep in the ear of major leagueofficials, pumping up Vogelsong as a replacement pick.

There are other deserving snubs, though. Theres the MetsJohan Santana, the Reds Johnny Cueto and the Pirates James McDonald.

Its not over yet, Bochy said.

No, its not. Vogelsong said he needs to pitch better in thesecond half to prove last year wasnt a fluke. He knows that wont be enough,either.

Ill probably pitch with a chip on my shoulder for the restof my career, he said.

Given a choice between he and Bumgarner, though, Vogelsongwould rather the 22-year-old lefty become a first-time All-Star.

If it wouldve come down to me and him, Id definitely wanthim to go, Vogelsong said. Its amazing and Im excited for Buster and Melkyto get that experience. I wouldve wanted (Bumgarner) to go.

But I wish I wish we couldve both gone.

Evans: Giants want to give Parker, Williamson chance to play, but...

Evans: Giants want to give Parker, Williamson chance to play, but...

While the Giants aggressively pursue a new closer, they haven't been aggressive for a new left fielder.

Angel Pagan is a free agent and isn't likely to come back. That leaves talented, but unproven youngsters Mac Williams and Jarrett Parker.

And for GM Bobby Evans, who is always looking for ways to improve the roster, it appears he is content going into the 2017 with Williamson and Parker filling the void in left field.

"Our mindset has been to keep an open mind in any way we can improve the club offensively. But that said, I feel like we've got a starting lineup today that we don't have to adjust or improve upon. I'd always like to find ways to improve it. I think there are some big market options, but we've got two young guys that we want to get a good evaluation on, and you can't really do that until they get major league at-bats. That's Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker and both of them are really in-waiting for an opportunity to get everyday playing time and show what they can do," Evans told ESPN's Buster Olney on Friday.

But Evans is keeping an open mind regarding acquiring a left fielder.

"That said, I also have to make sure that if we have an opportunity to improve or solidify our lineup in some way, I want to take advantage of it. But I can't lose sight of the benefit of developing our own guys and giving them a chance and not locking ourselves into keeping them from playing time in the next two to three years" Evans said.

Evans: Giants still in 'search mode' for closer, but 'it's progressing'

Evans: Giants still in 'search mode' for closer, but 'it's progressing'

As the Winter Meetings get set to begin in Washington, D.C. on Monday, the Giants still haven't crossed off the top item on their offseason wish list.

The closer role remains vacant.

Names like Mark Melancon and Greg Holland have been linked to the Giants over the last few weeks, but nothing has materialized.

On Friday, GM Bobby Evans provided an update while speaking with ESPN's Buster Olney.

"There's been a lot of signings and a number of trades. In many ways, more done prior to the winter meetings than in the last couple of years. We still are in process, relative to trade options, relative to free agent options, to be clear who's pitching the ninth inning for us. So we feel we have the makings of a good bullpen, we just need to be clear who's pitching the ninth. And we'd like to solidify that through the trade market or free agent market. It's progressing. We're a month into this process, so we have a lot more information. But ultimately, until we have a closer, we're still in the search mode.

There's a nice balance between both. It's just that, they both have costs. Relative to a trade, sometimes you're giving up, in some cases, one or more of your top prospects and other prospects below that. In the way of free agency, it's obviously an expenditure for a certain number of years that is elavated more on the supply and demand side. That said, there are some middle tier late inning options as well that may not be as demanding as some of the bigger names. Again, it's a balance of options trying to measure all three."