Zito Struggles in Triple-A Debut

Let this sink in really quickly: Your Barry Zito is the 33rd highest paid athlete in all of sports. That's pretty alarming.

Especially when you consider what Zito has done since signing a huge deal with the Giants and skipping across the San Francisco Bay from the Oakland A's, where he was pretty dominant.

Since joining the Giants prior to the 2007 season, he hasn't turned in an ERA under 4.00, which doesn't really cut it in the National League, and especially not in this ballpark.

But he was teasing us with the rehab stint. He was dominant and looked sharp in Single-A San Jose before working his way up to making a start Thursday night with the Triple-A team from Fresno.

That didn't go nearly as well. Zito labored through six innings, allowing five hits and four earned runs. What was more of a concern though was the sudden control issues Zito battled, throwing just 58 of his 95 pitches for strikes.

Just a few days back, we talked about the options the Giants have with Zito once he gets off the DL: six-man rotation, moving him to the bullpen, trading another starter, trading him (not likely), releasing him (extremely unlikely).

At this point, the Giants have no reason to trust Zito will be effective upon his return seeing as how he struggled so much more against Triple-A hitters than Single-A. Imagine what he might do against big league hitters. Ouch.

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