Veteran pitcher Barry Zito completed his comeback on Sunday as he made his first appearance in a big league game in nearly two years. Zito came in as a reliever for the Oakland A’s in the eighth inning against the Houston Astros.
The story didn’t have a Hollywood ending as Zito got knocked around a bit in his one inning of work. Barry allowed two earned runs on two hits and a walk. Colby Rasmus connected for his second home run of the day off Zito, a two run shot that really put a damper on any thoughts Oakland may have had about a ninth inning rally against Houston’s closer Luke Gregerson. Oakland lost the game 5-1.
It was the first time that Zito has taken the mound in an A’s uniform since 2006. He started his career with the team in 2000 and even won a Cy Young award with Oakland in 2002. Zito left the A’s before the 2007 signing a huge free agent contract with the San Francisco Giants. Barry never enjoyed the same personal success with the Giants that he had with the A’s, but he was part of two World Series winners.
Zito didn’t play baseball at all in 2014 and spent most of the 2015 season with the AAA Nashville Sounds. He actually thought he was done pitching for the year before he got the call up to Oakland earlier this week. Zito told USA Today he had already began his offseason.
“I turned the page on the game eight days before, so it was a little daunting and strange to have to pull that page back again after 15 years.”
It has been a lost season for the A’s as they sit in the basement of the American League West and have already been officially eliminated from playoff contention with two weeks to go in the season. Oakland certainly was looking for a reason to make fans come out and see the A’s the rest of the season and Zito gave the team that opportunity. Oakland manager Bob Melvin basically admitted as much to USA Today.
“It’s gonna be great to bring him home and get him in games in our place in front of our crowd. They love him there. Particularly when we play the Giants, it’s gonna be a really exciting weekend. It’s really gonna add to that having him there.”
It is nice to see Barry Zito get a current call and chance to thank the fans that supported him in his early years. Maybe Zito will get the Hollywood ending after all.
[Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]