"This was really a tough decision for me because I feel like my loyalty should be to the organization and my teammates first -- to be as well-prepared for the season as I can," he said. "It wasn't an overnight decision."Vogelsong ultimately reasoned that his years of being a fringe performer actually should help him. Competing for a job each spring forced him to remain in peak physical condition through most of the year. That background should give the 35-year-old the physical resilience to thrive for both Team USA in March and with the Giants when they begin the regular season the following month. "This isn't something that is new to me," said Vogelsong, who expected to start throwing off a mound in late January. "With my track record being what it is, I've never really had to use Spring Training to get in shape. I've always been in a situation, until last year, where I had to be ready to go from Day 1 and be able to throw the ball the best I could the entire Spring Training." Should Team USA reach the Classic's championship round, which is scheduled for March 17-19 at AT&T Park, Vogelsong could find himself pitching on his home mound. He acknowledged that this possibility was "one of the pros" as he weighed the pros and cons of competing in the Classic. Vogelsong is poised to become the second Giants player to join the United States in the Classic. Outfielder Randy Winn was on Team USA in 2006.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.