Since then, he’s become one of the majors’ best stories.
Vogelsong, named to the NL All-Star team last weekend, will take the mound for the Giants on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series against the visiting Mets.
After Barry Zito(notes) went on the disabled list with a foot sprain in April, Vogelsong (6-1, 2.13 ERA) took his spot in the rotation and seized the opportunity, developing into an unlikely All-Star.
The journey, however, got off to a shaky beginning. Vogelsong, who spent the previous four seasons in the minors and in Japan, made his second start this year against the Mets on May 3, allowing five runs in four innings of the Giants’ 7-6, 10-inning victory.
He’s given up more than two earned runs in only one of his 11 starts since, posting a 1.67 ERA in that stretch.
“There’s never been a time in my career when this seemed like even a realistic possibility,” Vogelsong said Sunday. “A year ago, almost to the day, I got released and didn’t know if I would ever pitch again.”
The 33-year-old right-hander allowed three runs - two earned - in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-3 loss to Detroit on Sunday, but didn’t factor in the decision. He walked a season-high four for a second straight start.
The NL West-leading Giants (50-39) are going for their third straight win. They won the final two games of a four-game series against San Diego this week, closing with a 2-1 victory Thursday behind eight solid innings from Zito.
New York (45-43) lost 6-0 to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday after winning its first four games with Jose Reyes(notes) out of the lineup due to a strained left hamstring. The Mets placed their star shortstop on the disabled list before their last game.
“We came in here and had a very, very good series without Jose, and we’ve got to move forward,” manager Terry Collins said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us.”
New York loaded the bases in the eighth and ninth innings Thursday, but couldn’t score. It went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.
R.A. Dickey(notes) (4-7, 3.68), who opposed Vogelsong in May, will do so again Friday. He is 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA in his last six starts after giving up one run and two hits in five innings of a 3-2, 10-inning win over the Yankees on Sunday.
Dickey was pulled early because of tightness in his left buttocks after he slipped on the wet mound in the fourth, but he doesn’t expect it to be an issue Friday.
The knuckleballer struggled against the Giants in May, giving up six runs and seven hits in six innings.