Barry Zito finished his final rehab start in Fresno with a complete game shutout Tuesday.
Barry Zito took his 3-0 rehab record to the hill Tuesday night for the Fresno Grizzlies against the Salt Lake Bees in what appeared to be his final rehab start before rejoining the San Francisco Giants rotation. The Giants plan to give Zito his next major league start when they travel to take on the Chicago Cubs in a double header on June 28th. The Giants trip to Chicago will start a 14 game in 13 day stretch leading up to the All-Star break giving the Giants sound reason to continue with a 6 man rotation up to the break should they elect to do so. Tough decisions lie soon after as the club will not need six starters after the All-Star break with the 5 July off days and the July 31st trade dead line looming.
Zito went the distance last night allowing only 2 hits, 2 walks and striking out 7 over his 9 innings of work for the Grizzlies and retired 15 straight from the Bottom of the 3rd into the 8th inning. He threw 118 pitches surpassing his previous rehab high of 96 in his last outing for Fresno to finally reach Manager Bruce Bochy’s stated goal of at least 100 pitches. His performance yesterday in the hot 100 degree San Joaquin Valley heat certainly showed the lefty is ready to go as he out-dueled his opponent Ryan Ketchner who went all 8 innings for the Bees allowing only 2 runs on 4 hits for the loss.
Zito improved to 4-0 in his four rehab starts since suffering his 2nd inning April 16th right foot sprain injury in Arizona. His rehab numbers combine to total a 2.20 ERA with 23 strikeouts to 7 walks over 28 2/3 innings.
Brad Eldred gave Zito a 1 run lead in the 2nd inning with a one out solo homerun. Darren Ford was also in the Grizzlies lineup after being optioned to Fresno on Monday and added a two out solo homer to pad the lead to 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th.