The promotion of Barry Zito to the A’s roster Wednesday primarily was a baseball decision.
[NEWS: Zito returns to Oakland A's]
But even Oakland general manager Billy Beane acknowledged the terrific theatre it would be if Zito and former “Big Three” teammate Tim Hudson took the mound in the same game when the A’s and Giants square off at the Coliseum later this month.
Hudson, who is retiring after this season, is due to start against the A’s on Sept. 26, the middle game of a three-game Bay Bridge Series set. Zito wasn’t originally slated to be called up from Triple-A by the A’s, but injuries have hit their pitching staff hard, with Jesse Chavez the latest starter lost to a season-ending injury.
[RELATED: Chavez's season over]
“We have an immediate need,” Beane said in a phone interview Wednesday. “We’ve just gotten decimated with injuries here. … It’s a baseball decision first off, but it’s hard not to acknowledge (that Zito being) on the field for Huddy’s last start, it would be kind of a neat day for everybody.”
Technically, that Sept. 26 start would be Hudson’s second-to-last outing of the Giants’ regular season. But given that the 37-year-old Zito could decide to retire after this season too, it sets up as quite a nostalgic weekend for Bay Area baseball fans.
One important thing to note: Beane says the A’s see Zito strictly as a reliever. The lefty missed roughly a month of Triple-A Nashville’s season with a shoulder injury late in the year. He appeared in just one game after Aug. 5, and that was a scoreless inning of relief on Sept. 6.
“We weren’t initially going to call Barry up,” Beane said. “He’d only pitched one inning, and he wasn’t really in a position to help us starting. (But) we need bodies.”
If they wish, the A’s could still decide to hand Zito the ball for that Sept. 26 start against Hudson, even if he was only able to pitch an inning or two.
An added bonus for fans: Mark Mulder, the final part of the “Big Three” trio that powered the A’s rotation in the early 2000’s, reportedly plans to be in attendance at the Coliseum for the A’s-Giants series.