Let's take a look at the symptoms of Barry Zito:
- 4-5 mph off his fastball from last year to this year
- Inability to hit the strike zone with any pitch
- Arm slot out of wack, front side flying open
- A seemingly healthy arm unable to top 84-85 MPH at the age of 29
My big bad theory is Dead Arm Syndrome. Put simply, the wearing away of the muscles of the rotator cuff, and a partial or even full tear of the labrum (rim of cartilage that holds the upper joint in the shoulder) which causes the condition known as Dead Arm Syndrome in which a pitcher loses miles off their fastball, arm slot gets thrown out of wack, and very often a pitcher doesn't know about it until an MRI is taken, as all they feel is a lack of "zip" in their delivery.
Mark Prior threw his first 200+ IP season at the age of 22, and we all know how his career turned out. While Zito hasn't had exactly the same amount of problems Prior has had, one can think that all those innings without missing a single start would begin to wear away at the arm of even the most durable pitcher. I say get this guy an freakin' MRI before he tears something and needs surgery. Just my two cents.