Monday, April 28, 2008

San Francisco demotes Barry Zito to bullpen

This is why you should not offer lucrative contracts to players who cannot perform their ability at the level that they should be. Case in point:
Barry Zito was demoted to the bullpen Monday by the San Francisco Giants, who hope the former ace can correct his problems by working in relief.

The move was first reported by ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.

Zito, who only 16 months ago signed a $126 million, seven-year contract with the Giants to lead their rotation, was informed of the move in a meeting with manager Bruce Bochy.

"I'm certainly not happy with it, by any means," Zito said. "But this is the bed that I've made. I have to lay in it for the time being and I have to overcome. I trust management and I trust what their decisions are."

The left-hander has lost his first six starts this season and has a 7.53 ERA that jumped considerably after Zito was tagged for eight earned runs in a 10-1 loss Sunday to Cincinnati.

The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner with Oakland, Zito lasted just three innings against the Reds and was booed frequently by the crowd at AT&T Park during his shortest outing of the year.

"It's good sometimes just to back off," Bochy said. "It's happened to a lot of great players, position players and even pitchers. We just felt at this point it's time for him to sit back, miss a start and help us in the pen."

A three-time All-Star and San Francisco's Opening Day starter this season, Zito is only the third pitcher since 1956 to go 0-6 before May, joining Texas' Dave Stewart (1984) and Detroit's Mike Maroth (2003).

The durable Zito has made 247 consecutive starts without missing a turn due to injury, the longest streak in the majors. He made his only big league relief appearance last season.
Take a look at his averages from 2002 compared to his seasonal averages from 2003-2008.

2002 ERA: 2.75
2002 Wins-Losses: 23-5
2003-08 W-L Avg: 11-11
2003-08 ERA Avg.: 4.07

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