SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) - San Francisco right-hander Ryan Vogelsong is enjoying every moment of his attempt to make it back to the major leagues for the first time in five years.
``I'm having a lot of fun,' Vogelsong said after throwing four strong innings in the Giants' 11-8 win over the Texas Rangers on Sunday. ``The days I'm pitching I'm super excited. I can't wait. Even between innings I can't wait to get back on the mound.'
Vogelsong last appeared in a regular-season game when he made 20 appearances for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2006. He then signed a one-year deal with the Hanshin Tigers of the Japanese Central League, re-upped for a second year and played a third season with the Orix Buffaloes.
The 33-year-old Vogelsong returned to the states last season, trying and failing to earn a job with the Philadelphia Phillies. He agreed to a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Angels in July and joined the Giants in January.
Vogelsong, a non-roster invitee to San Francisco's camp, said he's a different pitcher than the one who went 10-22 with a 5.86 ERA in his first 120 major league appearances over six seasons.
``It's fun to feel the competition between me and the hitters,' Vogelsong said. ``Before, it wasn't a competition. It was just the hitters. Now I'm enjoying getting into the chess match with them.'
Vogelsong pointed to Sunday's outing as a sign of his maturity. The Rangers loaded the bases with three infield singles into the third inning, including a bunt from Julio Borbon that danced along the third-base line before rolling to a stop a few feet in front of the bag. But Vogelsong managed to limit the damage to one run.
``In the past when that happened I would have been trying to throw the ball harder, to make it move, to try and get them to pop it up,' Vogelsong said. ``I'm able to slow the game down better now. I just try to throw strikes, pound the strike zone, and let the ball do what it's going to do.'
Vogelsong, trying to win a spot as a long reliever, allowed two runs and four hits. He threw 45 of his 67 pitches for strikes.
Rangers starter Tommy Hunter pitched 3 2-3 innings, allowing seven runs - four earned - and nine hits.
``He got to two outs a couple of times, two strikes, and just couldn't put them away,' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ``He's got to work on that third out. We definitely need to see a better job of that going forward.'
Hunter, the Rangers' likely third or fourth starter, has surrendered 11 runs, eight earned, and 14 hits in 6 2-3 innings over his last two starts, both against the World Series champion Giants.
``This spring stinks,' Hunter said.
Pablo Sandoval went 2 for 3 with an RBI triple for the Giants split-squad. He also scored twice and swiped a base.
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus was 2 for 4 with a triple and five RBIs, and David Murphy homered.
NOTES: The game was played in front of a stadium-record crowd of 12,014. ... Rangers RHP Brandon Webb threw a 61-pitch session of live batting practice. Next up for Webb is another session of batting practice Wednesday and a possible appearance in a simulated game. ... Giants CF Andres Torres had a pair of hits and scored a run. ... Giants RF Nate Schierholtz had a productive day. He cut down Andrus at third in the fifth inning on a perfect throw after Josh Hamilton singled, then homered in the sixth against Rangers LHP Arthur Rhodes. ... 3B Adrian Beltre is expected to make his Texas debut on Monday.
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