Gameday: Zito “ready to go” for return for Majors
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UPDATE (10:32 PM): After a brief post-game presser with Barry Zito, in response to his return to the Majors, he said that “I’m ready to go, I just do what they tell me to do at this point.”
Zito, who had his first shutout since 2003 (when he played for the A’s), said that “it feels good, it’s about getting quick outs and being aggressive.”
When asked about his minor league rehab stint, Zito said that his “command has been better” as it has gone on.
Zito said that he had not heard anything about being called up after this start.
Zito on FresYes? Zito said “Fresno’s great” when asked about his time at Chuk.
Fresno Grizzlies Manager Steve Decker joked that it would be great to have Zito for another four or five starts in Fresno, and that having Zito around was a good experience for pitchers to see how an MLB pitcher operates in specific situations.
UPDATE: In what is expected to be his final rehab start, Barry Zito finished off his time in the minor leagues with a two-hit complete game. The Cy Young winner held the Salt Lake Bees (Triple-A affiliate of the Angels) to only two hits through nine innings. On top of that: Zito’s pitch count was relatively low throughout much of his start Thursday night.
Zito’s biggest inning of the night: the seventh where he struck out the side with 14 pitches. In total, Zito threw 95 pitches over his eight inning outing, five less than the 100 he was hoping to reach.
A player worth noting is the Grizzlies’ shortstop Ryan Lormand who had a number of good fielding plays throughout the game. Under normal conditions, many of these plays would have resulted in hits for the Bees.
While the game generated little offense, the Grizzlies were the lucky beneficiaries with a second inning solo homer from Brad Eldred. In the bottom of the eighth, Darren Ford smacked another solo shot (his first since Opening Day in April) to put the Grizzlies up 2-0.
Zito’s dominance on the mound allowed him seven strikeouts against the Bees, one more than his start on Thursday.
TUESDAY (6:30 PM):Tonight, the Grizzlies take on the Salt Lake City Bees to start a 4-game homestand. Starting tonight: Barry Zito for Fresno and Ryan Ketchner for Salt Lake.
THE Z BEAT
The Fresno Grizzlies have been extremely fortunate this season. Having some hands from San Francisco like Dan Runzler, Pablo Sandoval and Barry Zito playing in the farm system is a big deal for a team needing some major league help.
Both Sandoval and Zito have had significant contributions during their rehab stays for the Grizzlies. For Sandoval, he was able to build up his mighty swing. For Zito, it was an opportunity for Giants skipper Bruce Bochy to evaluate his future and jam 9,000 people into Chukchansi Park.
Tonight, however, all of that ends as Zito is expected to finish his rehab stint in Fresno against the Salt Lake City Bees and rejoin the Giants in Chicago against the Cubs.
Much of Zito’s current drama can be attributed to the success of former Grizzly Ryan Vogelsong. With five slots filled with good throwers, Bochy and General Manager Brian Sabean are in a very difficult position: keep Zito and have him pitch for the five starters (effectively giving them a day off) or get rid of him.
Looking to get some Fresno perspective on Zito? Check out Grizzlies PR man Noah Frank’s post at Yard Work