Pirates righty Ryan Vogelsong said today that he fully intends to pitch in 2017, as Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. The 39-year-old is expected to take his final start for Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Vogelsong has had a bit of a trying year — most of all, he faced what he calls a “major test” to return after suffering facial fractures on a hit-by-pitch — but that won’t deter him from continuing on. Neither will his rough overall results. Vogelsong owns a 5.00 ERA over 77 1/3 innings, with 7.0 K/9 against 4.3 BB/9, while functioning as a swingman for the Bucs.
“I’m playing next year,” said Vogelsong. “I don’t know where. I don’t know how long it’s going to be. But my plan is to go to spring training with someone with the intent of playing 162-plus games in 2017.”
Vogelsong also made clear that he hopes to join an organization that is willing to commit to him as a starter. The veteran has spent plenty of time in the pen, especially earlier in his career, but had mostly worked from the rotation since his return to the majors in 2011. He has, though, made 21 relief appearances over the past two campaigns.
“I think in this stage of my career, it’s role-dependent,” Vogelsong explained. “I’ve never been a guy who’s been money driven. I love the game, I love the competition. I think I learned some things about myself this season, and it’s easier for me to get ready to perform at this level having the time and preparation between starts.”
Though he spent a three-year stretch playing in Japan, Vogelsong added that he’s not interested in another trans-Pacific experience. Whether or not any major league clubs will see enough value to promise a rotation job remains to be seen, but Vogelsong has been quite durable and could certainly be called upon to provide needed depth in a thin pitching market. If nothing else, he’ll probably be able to command an incentive-laden minor league pact with assurances that he’ll have a chance to compete for a starting job in camp.