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Ryan Vogelsong: “I definitely have some questions whether the WBC hurt me”

Sep 11, 2013, 11:51 AM EDT

Ryan Vogelsong AP

Ryan Vogelsong has struggled all season with injuries and poor performances, posting a 5.82 ERA in 16 starts for the Giants, and yesterday the 35-year-old right-hander pointed to his participation in the World Baseball Classic as a possible explanation.

While noting that breaking his finger swinging at a pitch on May 20 is what derailed his season the most, Vogelsong told Andrew Baggarly of

The WBC … it’s a valid question. I’m just not sure. The only way we’ll have an answer is to have an offseason of rest and come back next year. I plan on coming back strong and having a great year, and then we can blame this on the WBC if you want.

I definitely have some questions whether the WBC hurt me or no. But I doubt myself more for swinging at that pitch, because that’s something I could have controlled. It’s just been hard for me to explain to you what it’s like when you’re rehabbing in the middle of a season. It’s not easy to do.

It’s also worth noting that Vogelsong is 35 years old, which is an age at which pitchers often decline rapidly, and prior to 2011 he’d been a journeyman without much big-league success. So maybe it was the WBC, maybe it was the broken finger, maybe it was aging, and maybe it was some combination of everything.

San Francisco has a $6.5 million team option on Vogelsong for next season and while his performance certainly hasn’t been worth that money this year Baggarly writes that he’s “expected to return.”

  1. sisqsage - Sep 11, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Since he bounced around so much pre-2011 (the year he finally found success in MLB, which was quite unexpected), that is all we have to go on. Vogey has been a pitcher that starts out hot and then hits a patch in the season where he gets hit hard for several starts and then gets hot again. He was not effective to start the season in 2013 and then inexplicably swung at a pitch that was headed right for his knuckles. He was pitching really well in that game, and for a few before that, which might have been a patch where he was turning it around, lending credence to the WBC theory. But overall, it seems that Vogey, a great competitor known for his game face on pitch day, needs pinpoint control to have a quality start in the game. If he misses location he gets hit hard. Last night he had no fastball as the game wore on and never should have faced Cuddy (three-run dinger that turned the game around; another Bochy head scratcher). I think Vogey and Pagan gave the team a ton of intensity and leadership in 2012 that they really missed this year. Going forward, I am not sure Vogey would be any better than Chad as a righty No. 4-5 starter. Chad would be much cheaper. Then again, I could see Vogey staying fresh and healthy next year and giving us enough quality starts to justify the salary, and perhaps have Gaudan be a righty mid to long reliever, a spot which has killed us this year with one failure after another (Kontos, Machin, who both got sent back down to the minors earlier). I think with Vogey, you just have to accept that he will struggle for a patch and then rebound. He could be an option as a long reliever too. His leadership and intensity would be a big plus in 2014 for a team that didn’t have much of either in his absence this year.

  2. qcubed3 - Sep 11, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Pitching in the WBC really hurt, but what really hurt was breaking my finger. Still, that WBC must have been the culprit because, baseball!

    • emdash01 - Sep 11, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      That’s pretty much the opposite of what he said. He was clearly asked about whether he thought the WBC contributed to his struggles, and said something to the effect that he wonders about it but it probably had more to do with the hand injury. So…he’s agreeing with you.

      • dan1111 - Sep 11, 2013 at 3:16 PM

        Yeah. Also, the reporter is the one who brought up the WBC. All he did was respond with an extended version of “I don’t know”.

  3. eightyraw - Sep 11, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Vogelsong was demoted to relief in the NPB in 2009, compiled a 4.81 ERA across 3 AAA teams in 2010, and then miraculously turned into an All-Star in 2011 (though he ended 2011 and 2012 with FIP- of 101). His renaissance makes no sense. Him turning back into Ryan Vogelsong makes sense.

  4. provguard - Sep 11, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    Sorry Vogelsong, but you were not even decent this year before the broken finger. Retire and go write your book…

  5. kevinbnyc - Sep 11, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    Ask Fernando Rodney about throwing a bunch in the WBC.

    I never like to see people making excuses for why they’re sucking, but I can’t imagine it was too great for either of those guys to throw a ton before really getting a proper spring.

  6. anthonyverna - Sep 11, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    Well, sure, let’s blame the WBC because it’s a simple way to set up a narrative (“Blame the WBC”). Instead of age, naturally declining ability, and injuries.

  7. jayberwanger - Sep 21, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    I think many Giants fans need to do some research on this guy. I know some pitchers have gotten better with age. Three come to mind: Billy Taylor, Doug Jones, and R.A. Dickey.

    Voglesong had done absolutely nothing in his professional career and Japan before he made the Giants ball club in 2011. What this guy did in 2011 and 2012 was simply amazing. Amazing to the fact that I think he was on P.E.D.’s. How does a guy set the world on fire, make the All-Star team and 2011, and make 13 million in 2012-2013? This guy was a nobody. He wasn’t a name that we had heard about before. He wasn’t a Kip Wells, Josh Fogg, or a Jamie Moyer type. Of course some Giants fans think that Dave Righetti is the best pitching coach ever. The reason to his success was Righetti. I guess the same thing can be said about Johnathan Sanchez.

    Now, Vogelsong has a 5.90 era and Vogelsong is somewhat blaming the WBC for his rough season. Of course it is never Spring Training’s fault. Also the Giants fans are coming out in droves and blaming the WBC, the finger injury, and the umpires are not giving Vogelsong any respect or calls. I heard many Giants fans at the beginning of the year saying the Giants had a better pitching staff than the 1971 Baltimore Orioles.

    Giants fans make a ton of excuses when things don’t go their way. They act like Pagan is the greatest outfielder in the game. I guess the Giants would have won 110 games this year if Pagan wouldn’t have got injured. Also, if Vogelsong wouldn’t have pitched in the WBC and wouldn’t have got injured.
    Please, Giants fans don’t say Vogelsong never got a chance until he got on the Giants. That is the biggest piece of crap I have ever heard. Look at his stats!!! Giants fans you have won two World Series in the last three years!!

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