Giants still think Barry Zito is “potentially useful”

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San Francisco needed to create an opening on the 40-man roster over the weekend, but instead of simply transferring Barry Zito to the 60-day disabled list the Giants designated Double-A pitcher Clayton Tanner for assignment.

All of which makes Chris Haft of MLB.com speculate that the Giants “still deemed Zito, who’s recovering from a right ankle injury, potentially useful.”

“Potentially useful” isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for someone with a $126 million contract and his odds of cracking a potential playoff roster remain slim, but manager Bruce Bochy noted that the Giants’ various injuries mean they might have to lean on Zito for some innings down the stretch.

Zito is owed $19 million next season, $20 million in 2013, and will get a $7 million buyout in 2014, but has started just nine times this season (with a 5.62 ERA) and last threw a Quality Start on July 7.

Hunter Pence appeared as guest on Bill Nye’s new show

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Bill Nye — yeah, “the science guy” — has a new show on Netflix called Bill Nye Saves the World. His show ties science to other areas such as politics, pop culture, and sports. Giants outfielder Hunter Pence was invited to appear as a guest.

Nye talked a bit about Pence and marveled at the dedication players must have to stay competitive in the sport. Nye called Pence “a cool guy” and “charming,” which is not surprising.

Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start with forearm tightness

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Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start against the Dodgers after four-plus innings due to tightness in his right forearm, the team announced. He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow. Needless to say, though, a forearm injury is very concerning. In his four innings, Miller gave up three runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts, raising his ERA to 4.09.

Miller, 26, has had a nightmare of a time since joining the Diamondbacks in December 2015. Last year, he made 20 starts and posted a 6.15 ERA. He suffered a finger injury suffered from scraping his hand on the pitcher’s mound with his follow-through, and he was also demoted to Triple-A during the summer as well.