Vogelsong ready for real baseball after marathon spring

Vogelsong: 'My mind is really starting to work the way I want it to'

Vogelsong ready for real baseball after marathon spring
March 30, 2013, 5:30 pm
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Ryan Vogelsong's line: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, BB, 2 K, L. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Obviously, we’ve got the target on our back.
—Ryan Vogelsong

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UPDATE (6:20 p.m.) -- The Giants purchased the contract of catcher Guillermo Quiroz and added him to the 25-man roster, the team announced on Twitter. Cole Gillaspie was reassigned to minor league camp.

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OAKLAND – Think Ryan Vogelsong is ready for Opening Day by now?

The Giants right-hander must feel like he’s played a mini-season already, having reported to camp more than six weeks ago and then participating in the World Baseball Classic with Team USA before rejoining his Giants teammates.

“This is the time of year, you’re getting so close, you’re ready for it to be here,” Vogelsong said. “Spring training is really long. It’s nice to get up here for (the Bay Bridge Series), but there’s nothing like Opening Day.”

Surely his teammates share that sentiment, and Opening Day 2013 would appear to pack extra emotional wallop for the defending World Series champs.

The Giants open on the road against the rival Dodgers, the team expected to be their primary competition for National League West supremacy, and they face 2011 Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw in Monday’s opener.

Vogelsong, who gave up four runs over five innings in Saturday’s 4-3 exhibition loss to the A’s, won’t pitch in the three-game series at Dodger Stadium. But the significance of the matchup hits home with him.

“They obviously got better,” Vogelsong said of the Dodgers. “There’s a lot of ways to improve your team in the offseason – free agency, trades. I feel like they did it their way and we did it our way by keeping the same guys we had. I think it’s going to be a great season, us going head to head with them.”

Teams reported to camp earlier than usual this season in order for players participating in the WBC to get ready for it. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said that extra time was crucial, but he can sense his players are champing at the bit to get the regular season underway.

“They’re rested, I think. Ready to go, anxious to go,” he said.

One big question: Is third baseman and No. 3 hitter Pablo Sandoval ready to go?

Sandoval’s bothersome right elbow felt good Saturday, and though Bochy wanted to work him in for one at-bat against the A’s, the opportunity didn’t present itself. Sandoval will throw and take batting practice Sunday before the team charter departs for Los Angeles, which will help determine his readiness for Monday.

Bochy said Saturday morning he was optimistic that Sandoval could avoid the 15-day disabled list, but it’s still unknown if Sandoval is ready to play third, or whether he might be relegated to pinch-hit duties for the first few games.

The 25-man roster was finalized hours after Saturday’s game ended, as the Giants purchased the contract of catcher Guillermo Quiroz and reassigned outfielder Cole Gillespie to Triple-A Fresno. Obviously, team officials are concerned enough about backup catcher Hector Sanchez’s injured shoulder that they opted to add more insurance at that position over keeping a fifth outfielder.

With the roster puzzle complete, fans can start paying attention to what really matters – wins and losses.

Vogelsong expects the Giants, having won two of the past three World Series, will be an opponent that every other team circles on the schedule.

“Obviously, we’ve got the target on our back,” he said. “Teams, not that they don’t bring it already, but they’re going to have a little extra incentive to wanna beat us. It’s a long season. It’s a grind, but we’ve got to find a way to mentally and physically be ready every single day.”

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