Giants set to active Ryan Vogelsong for Friday start

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Out since mid-May with a fractured hand, Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong is expected to come off the disabled list and pitch Friday against the Orioles.

Even before the injury Vogelsong’s rotation spot may have been in jeopardy because he posted a 7.09 ERA in nine starts, so it’ll be interesting to see how much patience the Giants show if he struggles initially. He’s essentially taking over Barry Zito’s spot after the highly paid left-hander was bumped from the rotation over the weekend.

Vogelsong had a 1.72 ERA in four minor-league rehab starts to convince the Giants he was ready to return. He had a combined 3.05 ERA in 2011 and 2012, but at age 35 he may need a good stretch run for the Giants to pick up their $6.25 million option for 2014.

Giants place Hunter Pence on 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain

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The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.

Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).

Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.