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DOWN THE LINE

With Ryan Vogelsong, Angels' loss was Giants' gain

Last year the Angels became the latest team to give up on the 34-year-old right-hander, after he failed to impress in triple A. But he's been lights-out for San Francisco this season.

August 13, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong works against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park.
Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong works against the Arizona Diamondbacks… (Jed Jacobsohn / Getty Images )

One that got away

How about that Ryan Vogelsong, huh?

The San Francisco Giants pitcher is an All-Star with a 9-2 record and a 2.48 earned-run average going into Sunday's start in Florida.

Boy, the Angels sure could use a guy like that.

Well, turns out they actually had a guy like that — but they let Vogelsong go last fall after the right-hander had an unimpressive eight-game trial at triple-A Salt Lake, going 1-3 with a 4.66 ERA.

That only made the Angels the latest team to give up on the 34-year-old journeyman. The Giants had him first, selecting Vogelsong in the fifth round of the 1998 draft but trading him to Pittsburgh three years later.

Since then, he's had ligament replacement surgery and pitched poorly on both sides of the Pacific —- losing 14 of 25 decisions with a 4.16 ERA for two teams in Japan, and posting losing records with ERAs that look more like good credit scores in both the major and minor leagues here.

Yet, for some reason — pity, perhaps? — the World Series champion Giants invited him to spring training, sent him to the minors to start the season, then called him up in mid-April when Barry Zito went on the disabled list.

Vogelsong has been an anchor on baseball's second-best staff.

"To go through what I went through and get back, it's definitely much more appreciated," Vogelsong said.

Added Giants Manager Bruce Bochy: "The long road he's been through, he's a better pitcher and player because of it. It's a great story, isn't it?"

Not if you're an Angels fan.

Still an Uggla average

Dan Uggla went 0 for 3 with a strikeout in the Atlanta Braves' July 4 win over the Colorado Rockies, dropping his season average to .173. He hasn't been shut out since, collecting a hit in 31 consecutive games entering Friday.

That's historic in two ways: It's not only the longest hitting streak in the majors this season, but also the .173 average is the lowest ever for a player beginning a streak of at least 25 games.

Uggla has 44 hits during the five-week-old streak — just 11 fewer than he had in the 15 previous weeks. He's raised his season average 51 points, but to just .224, third-lowest in the National League.

Statwatch(trivia edition)

•Boston has scored 10 or more runs in a game six times since the All-Star break. The Angels have done that just five times all season.

•Philadelphia's Cliff Lee leads the majors with five shutouts. That's the most in the majors since Tim Belcher had eight for the Dodgers in 1989 — and more than the entire staffs of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Houston and the Chicago Cubs.

•Only four teams have more complete games than Tampa Bay's James Shields, who has eight.

•Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo has given up 32 home runs this season, four more than any player in the National League has hit.

•Philadelphia is 11-1 since acquiring outfielder Hunter Pence.

— Kevin Baxter

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