As starter Ryan Vogelsong comes off the disabled list to make his season debut for the San Francisco Giants, closer Brian Wilson prepares to go on the DL with the possibility of missing the rest of the season.
Vogelsong takes the mound Sunday when the Giants go for a fourth straight win overall and try to complete a three-game sweep of the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates.
San Francisco turned to Vogelsong last April when Barry Zito was injured and he made the most of the opportunity, earning his first All-Star appearance before finishing 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA - both the wins and ERA were easily career bests.
After signing a two-year contract in the offseason, the right-hander began the year on the disabled list with backs spasms, but is ready to pitch Sunday. He went 1-1 with a 5.91 ERA in two starts versus the Pirates, for whom he pitched from 2001-06.
As Vogelsong hopes to build off his impressive 2011, the Giants prepare to move on without Wilson, who may be headed for surgery on his right elbow after an MRI revealed structural damage and an issue with the ligament. Surgery could mean the end of the closer's season.
Manager Bruce Bochy and athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said Saturday the club will seek at least one more opinion and probably two, including from the renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, who performs Tommy John elbow-reconstruction surgeries.
"There's definitely some issues there,' Bochy said. "Initially I was just being optimistic he would be fine, but after the test done yesterday it doesn't look very good right now. ... Likely he's looking at surgery."
Wilson leads the majors with 164 saves since 2008. Santiago Casilla will be considered along with Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo to close in his place.
"It's going to take getting everybody to contribute," Bochy said. "Right now they're doing that."
The loss of Wilson comes as San Francisco has bounced back from a 1-4 start. The Giants (4-4) defeated the Pirates 4-3 on Saturday after Emmanuel Burriss scored the winning run on Clint Barmes' throwing error in the ninth inning.
The Pirates (2-6) have totaled seven runs and batted .171 during a five-game losing streak.
Barmes' error capped a particularly rough night for the shortstop, who went 0 for 4 to drop his season average to .087 (2 for 23).
"The ball was hit hard to me. I had plenty of time to catch it, square myself and make a good throw to Rod,' Barmes said. "I caught the ball and just tried to be too quick and make a good throw. That play, that part of the game, you have to make that play. No excuses for it. I didn't.'
The Pirates will hand the ball to Kevin Correia, who pitched well in his season debut.
The right-hander gave up one run and four hits in six innings of a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday. He didn't factor in the decision.
Correia is 1-1 with a 3.67 ERA in five career appearances against the Giants, but hasn't faced them since 2010.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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