SAN FRANCISCO – Barry Zito likes the thought of taking the Coliseum mound once again in an A’s uniform. It may happen Saturday.
Manager Bob Melvin said the aim is to sneak the lefty into Saturday’s exhibition against the Giants for a relief outing, a chance for Oakland fans to show their appreciation for the man who won the 2002 A.L. Cy Young award wearing green and gold.
“We’ll try to get him in Saturday,” Melvin said before Thursday’s Bay Bridge Series opener. “I was actually thinking about it during his last outing. It’s something we are looking to do.”
Would it be a parting gift? Most likely.
Based on the way the pitching staff is shaping up, it’s expected the A’s will either trade or release Zito unless he agrees to accept a minor league assignment. Melvin announced his five-man rotation, which doesn’t include the veteran. And with Jesse Chavez capable of handling long relief, there doesn’t appear to be a spot for Zito in the bullpen.
He posted a 5.03 ERA over six appearances (two starts) in the Cactus League, but that ERA is skewed by his final outing, when he gave up seven runs to the Angels in his only really poor effort. He showed enough in his overall body of work that it’s logical to think another team would at least take a flier on him if he’s cut loose.
Asked if he’d like to pitch Saturday in Oakland, Zito was very receptive.
“Being on that mound in green and gold would be really cool.”