Stephen Vogt stays loose, takes big step in rehab from shoulder surgery


SAN FRANCISCO -- Before leaving Scottsdale Stadium the other day, Stephen Vogt showed off a bit of an NBA referee routine that he has perfected over the years.

As Vogt emphatically signaled that an invisible player had drawn a charge, a Giants staffer walked past a group of reporters and whispered, "We need that guy in our clubhouse."

Vogt took a big step toward reaching that goal this week. 

The veteran had been limited to DH duty all spring, but he caught in a minor league game Monday. On the TV broadcast Tuesday night, Vogt said he'll likely catch in two more minor league games before getting behind the plate for the Giants sometime early next week. The first test went well.

"For me, it was just the up-and-down, catching one inning and then having to go back out there after sitting," Vogt said. "When you're going through the throwing program on your rehab, you're making sure you're warm and stretching before even going out there, so for me, it was just getting back up for that second and third inning. How easily I was able to stay loose -- that was huge."

Vogt feels good, but the Giants do not believe he has quite enough time to get in the mix for the Opening Day roster. If he catches a Cactus League game next week, he'll have less than two weeks until the opener, and the backup catcher will need to be durable early on since Buster Posey (hip surgery) will be slow-played in April.


Aramis Garcia has had a strong spring, and Rene Rivera also has put himself in position to be the choice.

Vogt might start the season on the DL, continuing to strengthen his shoulder in Sacramento, but the Giants have seen enough to know that he could contribute relatively quickly. Vogt is 6-for-12 at the plate as a DH and has shown surprising quickness for a 34-year-old catcher.

On Friday night, the two-time All-Star easily scored from first on Cameron Maybin's double to left. 

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Vogt and the Giants now must wait for the shoulder to comply. He had surgery last season and never played, and he couldn't fully take part in defensive drills early in camp. But catching Monday was a big step, and Vogt is close to making himself a bench option. 

"I'm almost 10 months out of surgery, so I'm pretty proud of where I'm at," he said. "I'm hoping to get out there as soon as possible."