What are the Giants going to do with Barry Zito?
That’s the $19 million questions as the Giants prepare to break camp (it will be a $20 million question next year).
In the short term, the Giants will leave Zito in Arizona as they travel north Sunday for the Bay Bridge Series.
Zito pitched a bullpen session Sunday in which is was more upright, ditch much of the crouch that he had experimented with this spring.
He’ll pitch a minor league game Wednesday in Arizona instead of pitching against the A’s at AT&T Park.
But we have serious doubts that two bullpen sessions and one start against minor leaguers will provide enough time for Zito to convert himself from a pitcher who “was throwing BP” (as one scout put it) to a servicable No. 5 starter by April 9.
He’s clearly starting from scatch.
The best option right now is for the Giants is to find a way to put Zito on the DL to open the season to give him more time to get himself right (or as right as possible for Zito). Then find someone, like maybe Yusmeiro Petit, to fill Zito’s spot in the roster until Ryan Vogelsong and Erik Surkamp are ready to pitch.
Or they could just have a couple of bullpen games featuring Guillermo Mota and Clay Hensley. Heck, they’re carrying 12 pitchers to break camp.
In the meantime, they’ll need to find some acceptable reasons to put Zito on the DL. So we offer these suggestions:
- Have Jeremy Affeldt invite him over for a cookout so Affeldt can share his technique for separating frozen hamburger patties.
- Schedule exhibition with Tigers, have Zito throw at Prince Fielder …. one … more… time….
- Have the team doctor diagnose him with being a carrier of a contagious form of Tourette Syndrome. If MLB wants proof, just tell them that everytime Zito pitches, it causes 40,000 people to have uncontrollable outbursts of profanity.
- Have him wash Jeff Kent’s truck.
- Make Zito collect his next salary payment … in pennies.
- Have him take Joba Chamberlain’s kids trampoline jumping.
- Have Dan Runzler teach him proper batting technique to swing and miss and dislocate your knee.
- Battle fatigue. It’s reasonable after being shelled in his last two spring starts.
- Take Zito on a day trip over the border into Mexico and confiscate his identification papers. Then make him try to re-enter the country with falsified documents under the name of Leo Nunez.
- On DL for “left arm weakness.” Can anyone contest that diagnosis?