Barry Zito ends season, and possibly career, with 1-2-3 frame in minors

With the minor-league regular season coming to a close this week and his left shoulder ailing, Barry Zito learned he won't be promoted to the majors by Oakland Athletics this month. After sitting out the 2014 season, Zito had signed with the A's with the hopes of pitching once more in the majors at age 37. They never called.

Instead, rather than finishing 2015 on the disabled list, Zito took the mound Sunday for Nashville, the A's Triple-A team, and pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning in the rain at Omaha. He finished with a 3.48 ERA in in 24 appearances, 22 of them starts, for Nashville.

After the game, they showered Zito with beer and champagne outside the clubhouse. Not the most elegant sendoff, but it seemed to be from the heart. Photographer Minda Haas got this shot of Zito, whose career appears to be over after making a comeback bid this year:

cutline text cutline text
Zito won the AL Cy Young in 2002. (Minda Haas @minda33 at Twitter)

Zito has made no official retirement announcement, but this report by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle makes it seem like this is the end:

“I thought I did everything I could to get a call-up when I was going all right, but it just didn’t work out,” Zito said by phone Saturday. “At least I know I gave myself the best chance I could.”

The A’s have used a franchise-record 28 pitchers, none of them fan-favorite Zito, and he doesn’t believe he was a consideration when he was healthy. “I didn’t ever hear anything,” he said.

Zito, who has been sidelined by shoulder tendinitis at Triple-A Nashville, will resume a throwing program Sunday even though the Sounds’ season ends Monday and there is no chance the A’s will bring him up this month. “I got word that isn’t going to happen,” Zito said.

The "throwing program" turned out to be a scoreless inning. Sneaky, Zito, sneaky. 

A three-time All-Star who won the AL Cy Young in 2002, Zito also won a pair of World Series rings with the Giants after signing a 7-year, $126 million contract as a free agent before the 2007 season. He posted a 4.02 ERA with a won-lost record 165-143 and 1,883 strikeouts in 430 career appearances, including 419 starts. He also went 6-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 10 career postseason starts. Zito's big curveball and short pant legs (or big socks) were his calling card.

Big into yoga, and famous for dating actor Alyssa Milano at one time, Zito dabbled in acting and once dyed his hair blue. But his life had color beyond the field mostly because of music. Zito writes and performs his own songs, and the experience in Nashville might have helped him progress in a songwriting career. He's made a lot of connections down there, Slusser reports. 

Good luck to Zito, no matter where life takes him.

Our Latest Stories