PITTSBURGH -- Despite being unable to pitch and having his face literally rearranged, Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Ryan Vogelsong has plenty to savor.
Inactive since being hit in the face by a 92 mph fastball from Colorado's Jordan Lyles on May 23, Vogelsong has been encouraged by the volume of former Giants teammates as well as fans who have expressed concern for his health.
"You hate for something to happen like that to see just how many people actually care about you," said Vogelsong, who was pelted with text messages while his wife, Nicole, fielded an avalanche of tweets (Vogelsong does not have his own Twitter account). "It makes you realize just how fortunate you are to have so many people that think about you and care about you. When you're laying there and can't do much, it definitely brings your spirits up to have that kind of showing from fans and friends and family."
Vogelsong, whose second and most significant stint with San Francisco lasted from 2011-15, also feels thankful for his physical condition. The impact to his orbital socket, which sustained seven breaks alone, "basically broke everything into my nose," he said Monday.
"It shattered my sinuses and shattered my nose. It was pretty intensive surgery."
Fortunately for Vogelsong, the lingering swelling around his left cheekbone is one of the few remaining physical signs of his misfortune. His vision has improved to 20-20; it was 20-80 one day after he was hit by the pitch.
"I've been reminded multiple times by the doctor how lucky I am," said Vogelsong, who was 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA in 12 appearances (two starts) before he was hurt. "I'm not taking it for granted that it could have went the other way and I could have lost vision totally."
Vogelsong has begun playing catch, though he limits himself to tossing the ball while a third party catches the return throws.
Vogelsong said he hopes to be activated from the 60-day disabled list on July 23 -- one day after he turns 39. He expressed sincere optimism about being able to pitch beyond this year for the Pirates, who signed him as a free agent this offseason.
"Aside from getting hit in the face, my body and my arm still feel really great," Vogelsong said.
A 2011 National League All-Star and the Giants' leading winner during the 2012 postseason, Vogelsong said the club never raised the possibility of trying to re-sign him last offseason.
"I just kind of knew they were probably going to go after some of the front-line guys to make the rotation better," Vogelsong said. "... It was never my intention to make it seem like I didn't want to be back there, because that wasn't it at all. I would have loved to go back there again. It was just one of those things of a team progressing and just not being a part of that plan."
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.