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.Take a look at his averages from 2002 compared to his seasonal averages from 2003-2008.
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.
2002 ERA: 2.75
2002 Wins-Losses: 23-5
2003-08 W-L Avg: 11-11
2003-08 ERA Avg.: 4.07