Barry Zito won’t be left off Giants’ playoff roster this time

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Barry Zito was left off the playoff roster for all three rounds of the Giants’ championship run in 2010 despite throwing 199 innings with a 4.15 ERA during the regular season.

He has very similar numbers this season, throwing 172 innings with a 4.18 ERA, but manager Bruce Bochy said yesterday that he plans to include Zito on the postseason roster.

According to Bochy “the plan now” is to have all five starters on the roster, which means Zito will join Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, and the suddenly struggling Ryan Vogelsong. Only three or maybe four of those guys will actually be needed to start playoff games, so presumably Zito will be around strictly as a long reliever or mop-up man.

He has six career relief appearances, four of them coming last season, but low-leverage bullpen work beats not even being on the roster for a guy with a $126 million contract.