A’s fans will get a nice late-season treat to brighten what’s been a very disappointing season.
Veteran lefty Barry Zito is being called up to join the major league roster in light of the injuries that have decimated Oakland’s pitching staff. As recently as the last homestand, the team had announced that Zito wouldn’t be among September call-ups even after a solid season pitching for the club’s Triple-A Nashville squad. Zito reportedly said he’d been told the same.
The scenario has changed, and the three-time All-Star will rejoin the team for which he won the 2002 American League Cy Young Award. It’s a move that A’s fans have been hoping for since Zito first signed a minor league contract back in February. And with the Giants visiting the Coliseum for a three-game series Sept. 25-27, it raises a possible storybook scenario in which Zito could pitch against his other former club, as well as former “Big Three” teammate Tim Hudson.
Zito signed a minor league contract with the A’s with an invite to Spring Training on Feb. 17. He spent the entire season at Nashville where he went 8-7 with a 3.46 ERA in 24 games, including 22 starts. After going 0-2 with a 5.96 ERA in five starts in April, Zito went 8-5 with a 2.88 ERA over his final 19 games. He last pitched in the majors on Sept. 29, 2013 with the Giants against the Padres and has not pitched in an A’s uniform since Oct. 10, 2006 in Game 1 of the ALCS against Detroit.
Zito was drafted by Oakland in the 1st round of the June, 1999 draft and has pitched 14 seasons in the majors with Oakland (2000-06) and San Francisco (2007-13). He won the American League Cy Young Award with the A’s in 2002 and is a three-time AL All-Star (2002-03, 2006). Zito went 102-63 with a 3.55 ERA in 222 starts in seven seasons with Oakland before signing a seven-year contract with San Francisco Dec. 29, 2006. He compiled a 63-80 record and a 4.62 ERA in 208 games, including 197 starts, in seven seasons with the Giants. Zito ranks fourth on the Oakland career list in wins (102), strikeouts (1096) and games started (222), fifth in innings pitched (1430.1) and sixth in winning percentage (102-63, .618).
To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the A’s placed right-handed pitcher Jesse Chavez on the 60-day disabled list with a fractured rib.
Chavez was 7-15 with a 4.18 ERA in 30 games, including 26 starts, with Oakland. He went 3-9 with a 5.65 ERA and .295 opponents batting average over his final 14 starts after going 4-6 with a 3.16 ERA and .246 opponents average over his first 12 starts. Chavez is currently tied for the Major League lead with 15 losses.
In addition to Zito, the A's recalled right-handed pitcher Cody Martin from Triple-A Nashville.
Martin joins the A’s for the second time this year and is scheduled to start tonight at Chicago (AL). He was called up for the first time Sept. 1 and made his first Major League start and his A’s debut that day against Los Angeles (AL), allowing five runs on six hits in 3.0 innings for the loss. The 26-year old right-hander began the season with Atlanta and made his ML debut, going 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA in 21 relief appearances over two stints with the Braves.
Oakland A's media services contributed to this report