Barry Zito hasn't always been the fastest-throwing pitcher, but he's certainly always been one of the healthiest, having never been on the disabled list in his 12-year career ... until today, when the right foot sprain he suffered against the Diamondbacks took him out of action.
The Giants sent their high-priced left-hander to the 15-day DL and recalled Ryan Vogelsong from Triple-A Fresno -- he'll either slide into Zito's spot for Friday or pitch relief against the Rockies, depending on what the team needs.
"I don't even know what that means," Zito said about being placed on the DL. "It's a blessing I waited 12 years to hear those words."
It's not just a blessing for Zito -- include Giants fans in the group of people quite possibly thanking their lucky stars for the timing of the injury. After all, Zito's been throwing 83-MPH cantaloupes all over the plate in his recent starts, and hasn't exactly been even No. 5 starter material as of late.
"Watching him play long toss, his arm is fine," Manager Bruce Bochy said. "But there's no question the velocity has been down a little bit. We're very much aware of it. Even before the car accident, it's been down. Some things are hard to explain when there's no injury."
The "no injury" thing relates to Zito's car crash, which seems to have in fact derailed a pretty strong spring, even though it looked like Zito might simply play through the bizarre intrusion into his life.
"It's just weird," Zito said. "It's a weird injury. It's weird all around. The car accident was weird."
Indeed it is. Indeed it was. Indeed it will be? That just seems to be an appropriate way in which to analyze Zito's career as a Giant.
But maybe the time off could give Zito time to get his velocity back -- Bochy actually called it a "silver lining" -- and actually contribute at a level that doesn't totally resemble mediocre.
As for Vogelsong, he's a 33-year-old relief pitcher who hasn't thrown a ball in the majors since 2007. He left the Giants in the infamous Jason Schmidt trade (as many may know, Schmidt did alright once he got to San Fran) and now gets to throw his first pitch for the Giants since 2001.
Don't expect too much -- Vogelsong's got a career ERA of 5.86 after all -- but considering what Zito was offering when he went down, it's hard not to imagine that Vogelsong will offer something more valuable than the guy he's replacing.