PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – When Pirates’ fans hear the name Ryan Vogelsong, they typically don’t remember him fondly.
They recall a man who was acquired in July 2001 in what turned out to be a lop-sided deal, was almost immediately injured, and then failed as a starter before toiling in the bullpen, and then eventually fizzling into a baseball abyss.
Nearly 10 years after throwing his last pitch in a Pirates uniform, Vogelsong is back.
The 38-year-old right-hander made a very unlikely return to Pittsburgh when he signed a one-year, $2 million contract in mid-December.
“I’ve come to realize that you don’t close doors. Did I think I’d ever come back to Pittsburgh? Honestly, no,” Vogelsong told 93.7 The Fan at Pirate City on the eve of Spring Training.
Things have drastically changed both for Vogelsong and Pittsburgh. Vogelsong went to Japan and re-charged a career on life support. He got a rare second chance in the major leagues with the San Francisco Giants, and for five seasons was a solid starting pitcher.
However, in 2015, he found himself the odd man out in the rotation and ping-ponging back and forth between to-and-from the bullpen. There were signs of promise for Vogelsong last season, who finished the year with a 9-11 record and 4.67 ERA, but he lacked the consistency he had shown from 2011-14.
San Francisco, the team which Vogelsong originally debuted with in 2000, moved on, spending heavily in starting pitching this winter, leaving the free agent without a home. The Pirates had a need for starting pitching with the retirement of A.J. Burnett and the loss of JA Happ to Toronto in free agency.
Vogelsong believed the Pirates were a perfect fit, citing they have the best young outfield in the game, one of the best bullpens in baseball and provided him an opportunity to start consistently.
Vogelsong covered a number of topics with Pirates pre-game and post-game show host, Dan Zangrilli from Bradenton, Florida. Listen to the entire interview below:
You can listen to Dan Zangrilli before and after every Pirates game on flagship station 93.7 The Fan. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DanZangrilli.