Giants' Ryan Vogelsong pitches with heavy heart
Father's cancer worries pitcher, but doesn't hurt his performance
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 11:23 p.m.
Ryan Vogelsong's story already was tailor-made for Hollywood. His long winding rode to big league success included a trade, reconstructive elbow surgery and a handful of random stamps on the passport.
On Wednesday, Vogelsong revealed another twist. He dominated last season's postseason knowing that his father, Harold, was fighting prostate cancer. Harold had hoped to come to Arizona and watch his son represent Team USA in the World Baseball Classic next month, but radiation treatments started Wednesday.
“It's weighing on my mind a little bit,” Vogelsong said, “But at the same time, baseball is kind of the getaway.”
Vogelsong pitched three more scoreless innings Wednesday in San Francisco's 8-8 tie with the Los Angeles Angels. Vogelsong struck out four.
In his first spring start Sunday, Vogelsong worked two shutout innings. He's expected to get one more start with the Giants before joining Team USA.
“Everything felt really good,” Vogelsong said. “I've just got to sharpen up my breaking ball a little bit and things will be where they need to be.”
Vogelsong had a 1.09 ERA last postseason, his first as a big leaguer, going 3-0 and dominating in Game 3 of the World Series. Harold had long since known that he had prostate cancer and would need surgery, but his son said any potential distractions were limited by the fact that Harold didn't indulge much.
“They kept reassuring me that he was going to be fine,” Vogelsong said. “He's got a great doctor in Boston that's supposed to be one of the best in the world with prostate cancer. We're pretty confident that this is going to knock it out. We're just praying that the radiation will knock it out and that he's not going to have too much of a rough time.”
Vogelsong said he's starting to get more and more excited about representing his country, but he feels the experience will be worth even more to his parents, wife and friends back home.
“It's a pretty amazing opportunity,” he said. “I think that adds to the enjoyment that this is going to bring.”
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