It’s about damn time.
Yesterday morning at approximately 9am, the Oakland Athletics made the call for Barry Zito to reclaim his rightful position in the locker room of the green and gold. At 37-years of age, Zito spent the 2015 season with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, where he made 22 starts and two relief appearances, earning a respectable 3.46 ERA.
The reason for him not being called up for such an extended period of time was because there was simply no room for him in the rotation or bullpen. With so much young and unproven talent on the Triple-A roster and an opportunity for them to gain experience on the major league level, it was difficult to justify Zito taking a roster spot away from someone who might need it – despite all the fans wanting him in Oakland.
However with Jesse Chavez going down with a rib fracture that will end his season – along with a multitude of other injuries that have plagued the pitching staff – Zito will finally get his shot. Although he is slated to come out of the pen – per Assistant GM David Forst – I believe their could be a chance A’s fans could see the veteran left-hander take the hill one last time as a starter.
In fact, there might even be a chance he could be slotted for September 26th game against the San Francisco Giants, meaning a duel between his former teammate and soon-to-be-retiring Tim Hudson. It would be the perfect send off for the both of them and to put icing on the cake, ‘early 2000’s Big 3 member’ Mark Mulder will be in attendance. “I hope Zito gets to pitch in that game,” said Mulder per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. “That would be neat for him and Huddy. And the atmosphere will be great.”
The only reason that I could imagine Zito not starting that game would be because of the injury trouble he has sustained this season. He didn’t pitch much in August for the Sounds, although did come into relief in the final game and threw one inning, ending the game the only way one could imagine Zito doing it, with a curveball.
Even Beane, who was the one who stated multiple times that it didn’t look like Zito would be making his way up to Oakland due to the limited roster space said that he did fancy the idea of a Zito-Hudson matchup. “We originally made the decision not to call Barry up because he hasn’t thrown much in the last month,” he said via John Hickey’s blog Inside the A’s. “Very soon thereafter I heard that Huddy might be making his last start here. I’m not all that nostalgic, but I thought that might be a nice reunion, too.”
The good news is that even if Zito isn’t up for starting the game – due to injuries or other personal reasons – manager Bob Melvin I’m sure would understand the importance of the moment to get Zito into that September 26th game for at least an inning. Either way, this is something that NEEDS to happen and is something that would give A’s fans in 2015 something positive to remember.
In a year that hasn’t seen much of anything go right for the Athletics, allowing the fan base to relive the franchises most memorable years of the millennia by watching Zito climb the hill one last time against Hudson would make for a story book ending to two magnificent careers. For A’s fans, Barry Zito and Tim Hudson are more than names. They are representations of a great period for the franchise and they have an opportunity to ends their careers on the very mound they started on. It is these types of moments that you can’t script that make baseball such a timeless tradition.
Now all that’s left is for it to come to fruition.