Editor's note: The above video is from Barry Zito speaking about his A's minor league deal on April 4.
OAKLAND -– Craig Gentry and Max Muncy are set to join the A’s on Tuesday, but as expected, Barry Zito won’t be.
Manager Bob Melvin confirmed that the former Cy Young winner won’t be among the remaining September call-ups for the A’s. The 37-year-old lefty spent the entire year with Triple-A Nashville in what was by all accounts a very successful comeback season after he sat out 2014 and then signed a minor league deal with Oakland before spring training.
Nashville manager Steve Scarsone shared in a radio interview with Sounds play-by-play man Jeff Hem that Gentry and Muncy would be flying out after Monday’s game to join Oakland on Tuesday. That jibes with Melvin’s comments Monday morning, suggesting the A’s were considering calling up a couple of position players.
Zito pitched a scoreless inning of relief for Nashville against Omaha on Sunday, his first appearance since returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for a month. Afterward, he got a beer/champagne shower from his teammates.
Is it a sign that Zito may have pitched the final game of his career? It’s very possible, though Zito hasn’t said anything concrete regarding his future.
If he were to try pitching again in 2016, Melvin said it bodes well for Zito that he got back on the mound with a strong outing following his shoulder injury.
“Getting back and pitching an inning, I’m sure makes him feel a little bit better, as well as (proves to) other clubs -- and us -- that he was able to come back and pitch and end the season healthy.”
Zito entered Nashville’s season finale Monday with an 8-7 record and 3.46 ERA, and there were points in the season where it appeared that perhaps he was major league ready. A promotion, which so many A’s fans have been hoping for all season, never came. And when the A’s rotation began struggling, partly due to injuries in August, it coincided with the time that Zito was dealing with his own shoulder injury.
Unlike Zito, Gentry and Muncy already are on the 40-man roster, which is full. Another Nashville player to keep an eye on is catcher Bryan Anderson. He’s not on the 40-man, but if Stephen Vogt were to miss an extended period with his injury, the A’s might look to promote Anderson. They could open up a spot on the 40-man roster were they to, for example, transfer Kendall Graveman from the 15-day to 60-day DL.
As for Zito, he made his mark this year even if it wasn’t in the big leagues. Graveman and Sean Nolin are among the young pitchers who said they benefited from the tutelage of the three-time All-Star.
“He’s been a special guy, an outstanding teammate,” Scarsone said in his interview with Hem. “… He never looked down or treated anybody like he’s above us, which we’ve seen in this game can happen.”