TEMPE, Ariz. – When Ryan Vogelsong reports to the Team USA training camp next week, he’ll actually shorten his commute. Salt River Fields is just across the street from his rental house.
But there are times his thoughts will be thousands of miles away.
After logging three scoreless innings against the Angels on Wednesday, Vogelsong revealed that his father, Harold, is battling prostate cancer. He was about to undergo the first radiation treatment in an eight-week schedule.
Vogelsong learned of the diagnosis last year, meaning that he pitched brilliantly through three rounds of the postseason with his father’s health weighing on his mind.
“He had it removed and they thought that would be it, but they found more in the tissue,” Vogelsong said. “Now we’re just praying the radiation will knock it out, that he won’t have too tough a time with it.”
Vogelsong, who is known for his ultra-intense demeanor on the mound, said he was able to focus on the task at hand during the playoffs because his father kept most things to himself. But he acknowledged it was weighing heavier as he prepared for his second start of the spring Wednesday, since the first radiation treatment was scheduled for that day.
“They keep reassuring me he’ll be fine,” Vogelsong said of his father, who worked many years for the Bostonian shoe company. “They’re pretty confident this will knock it out.”
The treatments will make it impossible for Harold Vogelsong to see his son pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. That’s the only downside to what Vogelsong otherwise considers a high honor.
He’ll stay with the Giants an extra day so he can make one more exhibition start, likely on Sunday. Then it’s off to the Team USA camp -- which is conveniently located across the street from where Vogelsong is staying. It’s a shorter commute to Salt River Fields than to Scottsdale Stadium. (Try telling that to Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens, who had to fly to Taiwan to manage the Netherlands club.)
“It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be cool,” said Vogelsong, who is expected to start the second pool game against Italy on March 9. “I’m excited for my family, for my mom and dad and my wife and friends back home. It’s a pretty amazing opportunity and I think that adds to the enjoyment it’s going to bring.”
Vogelsong’s second start of the spring was a clean one. He allowed just one hit in his three innings, a leadoff single to Mike Trout, but erased him with a double-play grounder. Vogelsong struck out four.