SAN DIEGO -- Giants right fielder Hunter Pence was sincerely gracious Thursday as he congratulated Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman for winning the National League portion of the 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote sponsored by freecreditscore.com.
Pence also expressed deep gratitude toward Giants fans for their support. Pence finished third in the five-man election, behind Freeman and Los Angeles outfielder Yasiel Puig and ahead of Washington shortstop Ian Desmond and Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
"All five of us are deserving. I'm happy for Freddie," Pence said. "This is his first [All-Star Game], so that makes it more special."
Pence was an All-Star in 2009 and 2011 while with the Astros. He praised Giants fans for showering him with encouragement -- and votes -- despite the club's colossal slump.
"I want them to know their efforts are greatly appreciated," he said. "I wish I could explain to them how much their effort for me means."
Vogelsong has first session off bullpen mound
SAN DIEGO -- Ryan Vogelsong's recovery from a fractured pinkie on his throwing hand progressed to another stage Thursday at Petco Park when he threw off a bullpen mound for the first time since sustaining his injury.
"Everything felt pretty good," said Vogelsong, who was hit on his right hand by a pitch from Washington's Craig Stammen on May 20.
Vogelsong threw 30 pitches, all fastballs, and reported that he was sharper than he would have felt during a comparable session early in Spring Training. He still might need at least three additional weeks of preparation before he can resume pitching competitively.
Vogelsong, who's renowned for his competitive fire, has tried not to let the Giants' slump affect him adversely.
"I wish I could get back out there tomorrow," he said. "At the same time, I have to be smart about this and do what they [the medical staff] tell me to do and make sure I'm ready to go when it's time. This game is hard enough to play when you're healthy, let alone trying to do it when you don't feel right."
Bochy reiterates Cain's health is fine
SAN DIEGO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy continued to insist that right-hander Matt Cain isn't seriously injured, despite the Opening Day starter's lack of effectiveness Wednesday against the New York Mets and his 5.06 ERA.
Bochy said in response to a question that Cain is not scheduled to undergo any physical tests in the near future. Asked about the bone chips in Cain's elbow that have nagged the right-hander in the past, Bochy said, "It hasn't affected him, as far as I know."
Bochy reiterated that removing Cain with two outs in the first inning after he threw 36 pitches and allowed three runs was a matter of exercising caution. Bochy said he didn't want Cain to endure another short yet tiring outing as he did in his previous start July 5, when he threw 75 pitches while yielding eight runs in 2 1/3 innings to the Dodgers.
Upon further review, Bochy said Cain struggled to throw his slider where he wanted against the Mets. Bochy mentioned that Cain also chastised himself for not throwing his fastball more.
Giants bring back Machi to bolster bullpen
SAN DIEGO -- Needing bullpen depth in the wake of George Kontos' suspension, the Giants recalled right-hander Jean Machi from Triple-A Fresno on Thursday.
Technically, Machi replaced left-hander Mike Kickham on the active roster. The Giants needed to make sure their bullpen was adequately stocked, due to Kontos' unavailability. Kontos began serving his three-game suspension, which he received for hitting Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen with a pitch on June 11. As a result, the Giants must function with a 24-man roster until Sunday.
Machi, who began his third stint with the Giants, entered Thursday with a 2-0 record and a 3.86 ERA in 25 appearances in the Majors. He was 2-1 with a 0.60 ERA in 12 outings with Fresno.
Coincidentally, Petco Park was the scene of Machi's finest big league performance. He threw three shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out three, on April 27.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.