Barry Zito allowed just two hits and one run in his first rehab start two weeks ago at Single-A San Jose. It was a six-plus inning effort, and he looked great.
In his next rehab start, again for Single-A San Jose, Zito struck out six batters and surrendered only two earned runs over seven quality frames. Everything checked out fine with his once-sprained foot in the days after, so the Giants promoted him to Triple-A Fresno this week for another rehab outing.
He was getting closer, we thought, to returning to the majors as a long reliever. But it’s now highly doubtful that a move will be made anytime soon.
Zito was roughed up for five hits and four earned runs in a six-inning rehab start on Thursday evening with the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies. He threw just 58 of his 95 pitches for strikes, struggling mightily against the higher level of competition. The Giants simply can’t trust him right now, no matter the role.
Zito, 33, had a 6.23 ERA and 1.54 WHIP in 13 major league innings before hitting the disabled list.
Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are closing in on a deal with catcher Matt Wieters. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it’s a two-year deal. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is for two years, at $21 million. There is an opt-out for him after year one. He will get $10 million in 2017 and, if he returns in 2018, he’ll get $11 million.
Wieters was not expected to go this long without signing, but his market, which many thought would be robust, never materialized. The Nats had been rumored to be interested for months, but they were apparently waiting to swoop in late and get what one presumes will be a bargain.
Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, so who falls where in the catcher fight in Washington is unclear, but one presumes that Wieters getting a two-year deal puts him at the top of the depth chart.
Ken Rosenthal has an interesting story up about Sergio Romo as he begins spring training with his new team, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
There is some fun stuff about his family, all Dodgers fans from southern California, but the more notable stuff is about Romo himself, who has dealt with a lot more than has been reported over the past couple of seasons. The loss of three of his four grandparents is a big one, as it has thrust the mantle of head of the family on Romo in ways that he was not fully prepared for. There are also allusions to personal and psychological problems Romo has experienced — there is a vague suggestion of alcohol or maybe just late nights out and perhaps depression, but he is not specific about it — which he worked on with the help of friends and teammates on the Giants and which he now has overcome.
There’s always more going on the lives of baseball players than we as fans know.