FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong's career has been filled with ups and downs, including stints with two different teams in Japan and being released by the Pirates and Angels before turning his career around with two World Series championships with the Giants.
So Vogelsong, who made his Grapefruit League debut in the Twins' 8-7 loss to the Red Sox on Saturday, has plenty of perspective. Vogelsong's outing was a bit rocky, he gave up three runs (one earned) while recording two outs in the fourth, but it was nothing compared to what he went through last year with the Pirates when he was hit in the face by a 92-mph fastball from Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles on May 23.
Vogelsong, though, returned just two months later, never missing a start the rest of the way, and now he's aiming for a spot on the Twins, as he'll be stretched out to start but is more likely to make the team as a long reliever.
"Obviously, if you know my career path, I've been through a whole lot, but that was one of the most demanding things I've been through," Vogelsong said. "Dealing with failures and not performing the way you want is something you can work through and get better. But when I got hit, I thought that was it. I thought my career was over."
Vogelsong, who suffered an orbital fracture, was worried his vision would never return, but he said the injury healed with time and that he made the decision to return this season on a Minor League deal with the Twins because he believes he still has quality baseball left in him at 39 years old.
"I love to compete," Vogelsong said. "I think talking to guys who are done, it's hard to replace that. I love being around the guys. I just love the game. I don't play this game to make tons of money. The money is nice, but I play it because I love it. That's what drives me. I still feel like I have good seasons left."