Barry Zito struggles in first rehab start at Triple-A Fresno


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.

Rangers claim Tommy Joseph off waivers from Philly

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The Texas Rangers claimed first baseman Tommy Joseph off waivers from the Phillies. Philadelphia designated Joseph for assignment last week to make room for Jake Arrieta.

Joseph hit 22 home runs and knocked in 69 in 142 games last season, but he did not get on base — or hit for power, for that matter — at the clip a first baseman needs to in order to be an asset, posting a line of .240/.289/.432. He had a better 2016, so it’s not that he’s without promise, but the Phillies have obviously decided to head in a different direction.

Joseph doesn’t really have a spot in Texas either with Joey Gallo handling first base and Shin-Soo Choo at DH, but he has an option left and could serve as depth for the Rangers, plying his trade at Round Rock until he’s needed.