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

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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.