Barry Zito announces his retirement

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It’s not a surprise. Not even close. It was very clear as the season ended and the A’s gave Barry Zito a final couple of starts that his playing career was coming to an end. But today he made it official, writing a column announcing it in The Players’ Tribune.

It’s not your standard retirement announcement. In it Zito talk about his professional and personal challenges, his religion, his family, his journey to self-acceptance and the like. In this it’s both very zen and very Zito, as we’ve come to know him over the past several years. It’s interesting to hear about it all in his own words.

Quite a journey the man has had. From a phenom to a Cy Young Award winner to something of an albatross and then finally onto journeyman status. From a guy who, at least according to some scattered reports back in his Oakland days, used to be a bit of a wild child on to a mature adult who has embraced Christianity and his family. For all of his ups and downs, he seems to be at a pretty peaceful and happy place. Not too bad.

As for the numbers: a record of 165-143 with an ERA of 4.04 (ERA+ 105) and a K/BB ratio of 1885/1064 in 2576.2 innings over 15 years. He won the Cy Young Award in 2002, his third season. He was a three-time All-Star. He was never what the Giants expected when they gave him a nine-figure deal but he was on the team for two World Series titles (though on the playoff roster for only one of them).

Not a bad career.

Astros’ Verlander to have elbow surgery, miss rest of season

Justin Verlander
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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video.

“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.

He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”

Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019.

“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.

“I truly believe everything that everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”

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