Barry Zito throws 50 pitches in simulated game

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Barry Zito faced live hitters yesterday for the first time since being placed on the disabled list with a sprained foot in mid-April, throwing 50 pitches against teammates Emmanuel Burriss and Eli Whiteside in a simulated game.

Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Whiteside hit a homer, which is never a good sign for any pitcher in any situation, but manager Bruce Bochy watched the session and said that Zito “threw well” and “should be encouraged” by how it went.

Zito is expected to move his recovery to extended spring training, followed by a minor-league rehab assignment, but Bochy told Kroichick that he’s still likely several weeks from potentially rejoining the Giants.

Ryan Vogelsong is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA since replacing Zito in the rotation, so the Giants may not be inclined to rush him back.