CINCINNATI -- Giants right-hander Sergio Romo has frequently cited how his 12-pitch encounter with Jay Bruce in Game 5 of last year's National League Division Series bolstered his confidence. Bruce, Cincinnati's slugging right fielder, represented the potential winning run with two on and one out but flied out to left field. One out later, the Giants had a 6-4 victory that advanced them to the NL Championship Series.
That helped shape Romo's identity as a budding closer.
What did it do for Bruce?
For starters, it didn't wreck him.
"It's another experience that I'm going to have to look back on," Bruce said Monday, maintaining perspective. "It wasn't a good one at the time, but it's part of it all."
Just as Romo drew inner strength from his confrontation with Bruce, the two-time All-Star viewed the experience as one that ultimately can help his performance.
"The focus I had that at-bat was something that I try to replicate for each at-bat," Bruce said. "That's something that I've been working on this year. I don't think it necessarily goes back to that at-bat, but the continued focus through the extent of the game is something that I've really put a premium on this year."
Vogelsong clears hurdle with first throwing session
CINCINNATI -- Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong began a new phase Monday in his recovery from a fractured right pinkie by throwing for the first time since sustaining the injury on May 20.
"It was a good hurdle to climb today," said Vogelsong, who played catch on flat ground with Giants head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner.
Vogelsong unleashed about 30 throws, half at a 40-foot distance and half from 60 to 65 feet.
Vogelsong, who's still expected to be sidelined at least until August, felt a little weakness in his throwing hand but no pain.
"I felt like I was getting out in front and the ball was coming off my fingertips," he said.
Vogelsong's wasting little time in his bid to rejoin the starting rotation. He plans on throwing again Tuesday, clearly relieved to be doing what he does for a living once more, albeit at a rudimentary stage.
"When you're dealing with rehab, it's always good to hit a goal or the next step of the process," Vogelsong said.
For Vogelsong, that will be throwing off a mound once he regains enough arm strength.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.