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While the Giants didn't know it at the time, a sprained foot would become the most impactful injury of the first half of San Francisco's season.
Barry Zito, San Francisco's fifth starter who missed the postseason due to his second half struggles in 2010 and was continuing to falter early this season (0-1, 6.23 ERA), sprained his foot trying to field a bunt against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 16.
The Giants suddenly had to replace a fifth starter. They turned to 33-year-old Ryan Vogelsong. Vogelsong, who ironically had been drafted by San Francisco in 1998 and traded to Pittsburgh in 2001, returned to his original big league organization after signing a minor league contract last offseason.
Vogelsong, who was released by the Pirates in 2006 and had to go to Japan to keep his professional baseball career alive, was impressive during spring training and made some successful relief appearances for the Giants in early April.
Vogelsong's performance has turned Zito's injury into the most impactful of the season, as the journeyman right-hander has gone 5-1 with an unbelievable 1.86 ERA in 11 starts so far for San Francisco.
Vogelsong's success has prompted a discussion over whether he should be chosen as an All-Star by his skipper and manager of this year's National League All-Star team, Bruce Bochy.
Vogelsong's story is one of the best in Major League Baseball this season, and it was only possible because of an injury to Zito, who has returned from the disabled list and is scheduled to start in the late game of a doubleheader with the Cubs Tuesday at Wrigley Field.