The San Francisco Giants are like a MASH unit. It seems they have a revolving door to the trainer’s room and the disabled list. As we hear stories of Buster Posey working diligently on his return, news broke that Ryan Vogelsong strained his back lifting weights. According to reports, Vogelsong shouldn’t miss any game time, but he will miss at least the first ten days of workouts.
It’s not too bad but we want to make sure we’re cautious. I’d say probably, cautious side, 10 days [before returning] maybe just to make sure I’m feeling good and don’t go out there and try to throw and tweak it again and come back in here. We’re just going to go really conservative right now.
The injury, while hopefully as minor as it sounds, is just another in the string of injuries plaguing the Giants. Their 2011 season was marred by the two highest profile injuries, those to Posey and Freddy Sanchez. From the end of March to the end of the season the Giants saw players hit the disabled list 35 times last year. When injuries can mean the difference between a division crown and second, third, or even fourth place in the National League West, Vogelsong’s injury is concerning to the Giants.
Vogelsong was one of 2011’s feel-good stories. After toiling away between the majors and the minors since 2000, including playing exclusively in the minors from 2007-2010, Vogelsong broke onto the scene last year. He went 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA. He was an All-Star and even finished 11th in Cy Young voting. It was enough to earn him a two-year guaranteed contract worth $8.3 million. The Giants, not willing to risk losing Vogelsong after his breakout year, didn’t even allow him to test free agency.
Now, at 34-years-old and with a strained back, how minor can his injury truly be? Backs are a tricky injury. What seems like a minor issue can often turn into something more. The Giants are taking precautions and keeping Vogelsong on the sidelines as long as he needs, but we are just starting spring training and the injuries have already begun. While the club may have hoped to shake off the curse of last year, the plague seems to have carried over.
The Giants have little chance at competing in 2012 if they have similar injuries problems to last season. Their offense was so inept last year, the only thing that kept them in the hunt was their pitching. Now, literally on the day many pitchers and catchers were reporting to camp, the Giants have their first injury concern.
The injury does, in fact, sound minor, but the repercussions of it not being so are huge. The Giants cannot afford another season like 2011. They need a healthy team. With an improved Dodgers team, an improved Padres team, an always streaky Rockies team, and the defending champion Diamondbacks in the West, the Giants will need every edge they can get. Vogelsong’s injury does not help their case, but barring any setbacks, he should be able to contribute not only during the season, but in spring training as well.