Vogelsong off to strong start in 2nd Bucs stint

Righty tosses two perfect innings vs. Jays; Watson solid in spring debut

Vogelsong off to strong start in 2nd Bucs stint

BRADENTON, Fla. -- As re-introductions go, Ryan Vogelsong made a good one Thursday afternoon at McKechnie Field.

The 38-year-old right-hander threw two perfect innings in the Pirates' 10-8 loss to the Blue Jays, retiring all six batters he faced in his first appearance of the spring.

"It felt pretty good, yeah. I'll take it," Vogelsong said. "It was a good way to start. Two clean innings, I'll definitely take it."

Spring Training: Tickets | Schedule | Information

It was the first time in a decade that Vogelsong pitched in a game wearing a Pirates uniform. He pitched in Pittsburgh from 2001-06 before continuing his career in Japan and making a remarkable comeback with the Giants that included two World Series titles.

Vogelsong signed a one-year deal with Pittsburgh this offseason, saying he had unfinished business and that he hoped to rewrite his legacy with the Pirates. The Bucs hope he can shore up the back of their rotation, eating innings and replicating the success he experienced in the first half of last season.

He looked sharp in his first outing, striking out two Jays hitters and only allowing one ball to be hit out of the infield.

"Obviously, you want to have good results, but try not to get too wrapped up in the results," he said. "You want the ball to be spinning good out of your hand, have a good tempo on the mound, and I accomplished all of that."

Around the horn
• Down, 10-2, with mostly Minor League prospects on the field, the Pirates staged a five-run rally in the seventh and scored again in the ninth to make the final score look closer than the game appeared most of the afternoon.

"They're fighting," manager Clint Hurdle said. "They're taking advantage of their at-bats, doing some things, laying off pitches outside the zone to get the walks to put ourselves in a position to score runs."

• Setup man Tony Watson made his first appearance of the spring, tossing a perfect fifth inning with one strikeout.

• With a few slight tweaks, the Bucs' lineup for Friday's game against the Twins looks similar to what they could roll out on Opening Day if Jung Ho Kang begins the season on the disabled list.

Here is Friday's scheduled lineup behind left-hander Francisco Liriano: Josh Harrison, Gregory Polanco, Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte as the designated hitter, Francisco Cervelli, Jordy Mercer, John Jaso, Sean Rodriguez playing third base and Cole Figueroa in left field.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.