Vogt’s tumultuous 48 hours ends in big game

By Jake Seiner

When catcher Stephen Vogt hit a home run and two doubles in Sacramento’s 8-4 win over Las Vegas Sunday, he managed to put an encouraging end to a chaotic 48 hours.

Vogt, drafted by the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 12th round of the 2007 draft, had spent his entire professional career with the same organization until Friday, when the Rays traded him to Oakland for a player to be named or cash considerations.

“The last 48 hours have been crazy,” Vogt said after yesterday’s win. “From getting the call and having to leave Durham with my wife and baby, the craziness with the travel and meeting new guys and the people in a new organization, it’s definitely a different experience than I’ve ever had.”

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Cliff Welch/MiLB.com

Vogt’s wife, Alyssa, and 1-year-old daughter, Payton, travel with him during the season. The family resides in Tumwater, Wash., in the offseason, but was in Durham, N.C., with Vogt when he got the call, meaning Vogt’s journey west involved a lot more than packing a bag and catching the next available flight.

The 28-year-old had gotten good at moving quickly between levels. In 2011, he packed up and moved to Triple-A Durham in about eight hours without issue. In 2012, he made the move from Durham to the Majors three times. But those moves were all within the same organization, and could at least be somewhat anticipated – heading back to Durham from Tampa Bay is a little different than relocating to a new city across the country.

“Moving up and down, you can get used to that because things are still kind of the same,” Vogt said. “Leaving my apartment in Durham and trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces and trying to figure out what to do with my car – it’s not like I’m just moving down the road, even. It’s 3,000 miles away.”

Vogt arrived in Sacramento in time to watch the River Cats’ Saturday night game from the dugout. Knowing he’d be catching Sunday, Vogt sat down with his expected batterymate, Sonny Gray. The catcher hardly knew a thing about Oakland’s No. 6 prospect.

The right-handed pitcher ended up throwing six scoreless innings with Vogt behind the dish.

“I didn’t even meet him until about 7 p.m. (Saturday) night,” Gray said. “He does a great job catching. I enjoyed throwing to him. We had a little meeting (Saturday) night, and I told him how I like to pitch and he talk about how he likes to call a game and it worked out really well.”

“(Gray) is a great young guy with a great arm,” Vogt said. “It took me a couple innings to see exactly how his ball was moving and stuff like that, but he absolutely pitched well (Sunday), and I can’t say enough about how well he threw. It was easy for me with how good his stuff was.”

Vogt is battling to get back to the Majors after playing 18 games with Tampa last season. The catcher was a favorite in the clubhouse, but was the odd-man out when the Rays’ found themselves in a 40-man roster bind.

In Oakland, he hopes to finally break through to the big leagues to stay. More game’s like Sunday’s can only help his cause.

“Obviously, going out (Sunday), I wanted to show them what I can do,” he said. “I was fortunate to get some good pitches to hit and catch a pretty good pitcher and do well defensively. It felt good to make a good first impression.”

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