Vogelsong 'letting it go' in return to mound


Vogelsong 'letting it go' in return to mound

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Ryan Vogelsong hadnt stepped on a moundsince he strained his lower back in the weight room a month ago. As he toed therubber Thursday morning, you couldnt blame him for wanting to take it easy.

No, really. You couldnt blame him.

I was letting it go, said Vogelsong, after his 25-pitchsession. I threw everything. I dont dial back in bullpens, ever. I dontduring the season. I never have, never will.

I throw my bullpens like Im pitching in a game. I want toget after it. Thats the way I pitch.

Almost halfway through spring training, Vogelsong isstarting from scratch. Any more setbacks would make it difficult for him to be readyfor the season-opening rotation.

Although Vogelsong was confident enough in his lower back tothrow at full intensity, he isnt making any pronouncements about being readyfor the season.

I quit asking, he said. Im not making the schedule. Ivetried not to be a pain in the butt, always asking, Whats next? Whats next? Justshow up, do what Im supposed to do and take it from there.

Vogelsong doesnt expect any more setbacks, though.

I wasnt too concerned about it, to be honest, aftereverything weve done, said Vogelsong, who did so many core and rotationalexercises that he probably had dreams about them. Weve tested it pretty good.

I was more curious about how my pitches were going to comeout, and it was better than I thought it would be, but not by a lot. Thelocation was pretty good for not throwing off a mound for a month.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy has said Vogelsong could buildarm strength quickly, since he did plenty of throwing before his back went outwhile doing power squats. The injury was significant enough to warrant an anti-inflammatory injection, but Vogelsong hasn't required any follow-up shots.

Vogelsong, 34, was an inspirational first-time All-Star lastseason. His 2.71 ERA led the Giants rotation and ranked fourth in the NationalLeague. His return to form is critical for a team expected to win behind its pitching and defense.

If Vogelsong isnt ready to open as the No.4 starter, theGiants could turn to left-handers Brian Burres or Eric Surkamp. Since thatwould give the club left-handers in the Nos. 3-5 slots, the club would move upleft-hander Madison Bumgarner into the No.2 slot between Tim Lincecum and MattCain.

The Giants open April 6 at Arizona, but a fifth starterwouldnt be absolutely necessary until April 15.

Unhappy Buster Posey bashes Phillies closer after hit-by-pitch

Unhappy Buster Posey bashes Phillies closer after hit-by-pitch

In what was set up to be a pivotal matchup of the game turned into a heated exchange.

Buster Posey stepped into the batter's box in the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday against Phillies closer Hector Neris.

But Posey never got to swing the bat. On the first pitch, Neris drilled the Giants catcher in the ribs with a 95 MPH fastball.

Posey whinced in pain and as he walked to first base, he appeared to ask Neris if the pitch was on purpose.

After the game, Posey was asked about the kerfuffle.

"I'm pretty certain he hit me on purpose. And it's just a shame because I wanted to compete that at-bat and he's got good stuff. But I guess he didn't feel like he couldn't get me out," Posey told reporters after the game.

Posey was asked if he could think of any incidents in previous games against the Phillies that could have led to the hit-by-pitch. He said no and asked the reporters if they could think of anything.

Posey's comments were brought to Neris after the game.

"It's stupid because nobody who watched that said, 'Oh he hit him on purpose in that situation,'" Neris told reporters, according to the Philly Inquirer.

Posey and Neris have faced each other just one time in the past. In the ninth inning of the June 3 matchup in Philadelphia, Posey flew out to left field.

Strickland hammered by Phils, Giants officially eliminated from NL West contention

Strickland hammered by Phils, Giants officially eliminated from NL West contention


SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner pitched six innings in one of his best starts this season, took a line drive off his left shin and hit an RBI single that temporarily gave the Giants an early lead.

The reward? A heaping of praise from manager Bruce Bochy, handshakes from his teammates and another no-decision - Bumgarner's third in eight starts since coming off the disabled list.

Philadelphia rookie Rhys Hoskins homered again, Pedro Florimon contributed with his bat and arm, and the Phillies scored three runs in the eighth to beat the Giants 5-2 on Sunday.

In what has been a theme for San Francisco much of the season, Bumgarner's efforts were overshadowed by another meltdown from the Giants' bullpen.

"I thought it was a good day for Madison," Bochy said. "We had it lined up like we wanted as far as the bullpen. (Hunter Strickland) just had an off day making some mistakes."

Bumgarner allowed one run and four hits. He stayed in despite taking a sharp line drive off his left shin in the second inning by Nick Williams - earlier this month, Williams hit Mets ace Jacob deGrom in the triceps with a line drive, forcing him from the game.

"I tried to do a kick save but I wasn't very good at soccer," Bumgarner said. "It almost worked out."

Hoskins connected for a solo drive in the ninth inning, making him the first Phillies player in at least 100 years to hit five home runs in his first 11 major league games.

"I got to better counts, I think this week, and the results show," Hoskins said.

Florimon hit a two-run single off Strickland (2-3) to cap a three-run eighth inning that made it 4-2. Florimon also had an RBI double off Bumgarner in the second, then made a sparkling defensive play in left field to throw out Buster Posey at the plate in the bottom of the inning.

It was Florimon's first major league game in left field.

"I just try to catch the ball and throw the ball to home plate and see what happens," Florimon said. "I made a good throw."

Adam Morgan (2-1) retired three batters for the win, a day after throwing just one pitch and getting the victory.

Hector Neris pitched 1 1/3 innings for his 15th save. He struck out Pablo Sandoval with the bases loaded to end the eighth after hitting Posey in the back with a pitch, then fanned Denard Span with two on in the ninth to end it.

The Phillies won the season series against the Giants for the first time since 2011.

Philadelphia trailed 2-1 going into the eighth. Hoskins and Maikel Franco hit consecutive one-out singles before Jorge Alfaro tied it with an RBI single. After Williams singled to load the bases, Florimon slapped a 1-2 pitch into right field.

Posey had two hits and an RBI, extending his hitting streak against the Phillies to 22 games. Kelby Tomlinson scored a run and Ryder Jones doubled and scored for San Francisco.

Posey had a rough afternoon physically. In addition to taking a 95 mph fastball in the back, Posey also appeared to get hurt while tagging out a sliding Cameron Perkins at the plate in the second.

Afterward, the Giants' All-Star catcher voiced his displeasure about Neris.

"I'm certain that he hit me on purpose," Posey said. "It's just a shame because I wanted to compete that at-bat and he's got good stuff. But I guess he didn't feel like he could get me out."

Giants 2B Joe Panik (concussion symptoms) continues to make steady progress and could come off the disabled list in time to join San Francisco on its upcoming road trip that begins Friday in Arizona.

Phillies: The team gets an off day before hosting Miami in a doubleheader Tuesday. RHP Dan Straily (7-8, 3.80 ERA) pitches in the first game and RHP Jose Urena (11-5, 3.61 ERA) goes in the nightcap.

Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (1-2, 4.91) faces Milwaukee on Monday.