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SAN FRANCISCO – Jason Vargas earns his living as a Major League pitcher, but the Kansas City Royals lefty is a fan just like anyone else.
So when the Giants hosted Texas in the first game of the 2010 World Series, Vargas – then pitching for the Seattle Mariners -- flew from his Arizona home to the Bay Area and attended the game with his wife.
“It’s a great city for baseball,” he said Friday. “I was here for that Game 1 and got to watch it from the fans’ perspective. It was a pretty electric atmosphere.”
It will be electric inside AT&T Park on Saturday too, and this time Vargas will be center stage. He’ll make the Game 4 start for the Royals against the Giants, hoping to temper the enthusiasm of the home crowd.
Vargas, in his first season with the Royals, has been stellar in two postseason starts so far. He held the Los Angeles Angels to two runs in six innings in the A.L. Division Series, then limited the Baltimore Orioles to two hits and one run over 5 1/3 innings in the A.L. Championship Series. He’s struck out eight and walked four in 11 1/3 innings.
And keep an eye on how he does with a bat in his hands. Vargas hasn’t recorded a plate appearance since 2012, but he played in the National League with the Marlins and Mets from 2005-07 and hit a very respectable .295 (13-for-44).
He said he talked a little bit of hitting with teammate Billy Butler on Thursday. Does he consider himself a good hitter?
“I think the good hitters are getting paid to do that,” he said. “But I’m definitely going to try to put the bat on the ball an do damage when I’m up there.”
As for that baseball vacation he and his wife took to San Francisco four years ago, Vargas saw it as an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
“I’m just a fan of baseball,” he said. “I Iive in Arizona. It’s not a very far flight. It was just an electric atmosphere. They were ready to go. The fans are here and they want to see their team win, and we’re hoping to stop that.”