Barry Zito suffers sprained ankle while making rehab start

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Giants left-hander Barry Zito was placed on the 15-day disabled list at the beginning of August with a sprained muscle in his right foot.

He made a successful rehab start last Monday at Single-A San Jose, tossing 7 2/3 innings while allowing only three runs, and looked to be on track to return to the major leagues within a week or two. But everything must now be put on hold.

According to beat writer Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, Zito suffered a sprained left ankle Saturday evening at Triple-A Fresno while making his second minor league rehab start.

X-rays have already ruled out a fracture, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters on Sunday morning that Zito is probably going to be sidelined for an extended period of time.

“I saw a picture and it’s pretty bad,” said Bochy. “It’s very swollen. It looks like there’s a baseball in there. It looks like it’ll be quite awhile.”

The injury happened while Zito was attempting to back up home plate. He took an awkward step and his ankle gave out. The 33-year-old has posted a 5.62 ERA and 1.33 WHIP across nine major league starts this year.

The Mets expect Tim Tebow to come back next year

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Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told Newsday today that he expects minor league outfielder Tim Tebow to return for a third season in professional baseball.

Tebow, 31, broke the hamate bone in his right hand while swinging a bat in late July, ending his season. It was a fairly successful season for him all things considered. After being promoted to Double-A Binghamton to start the year he hit .273/.336/.399 with six home runs, a stolen base and a .734 OPS in 298 plate appearances and made the Double-A All-Star team. That’s not the stuff of a top prospect — he strikes out far too much and the power numbers aren’t fantastic given that power would figure to be his strongest tool — but it’s pretty respectable for a guy his age and with his relative lack of baseball experience. As I said back in July, you can believe the Mets’ interest in Tebow is more marketing than baseball, but that does not preclude you from giving the guy a deserved tip of the cap for working hard and sticking it out in the bush leagues.

Assuming he does come back, the Mets are likely to start him at Triple-A Syracuse in the hopes that he’d eventually get to the bigs as a late season callup if the Mets aren’t in contention. Indeed, many believed that was the plan for him this year had he not been injured.