Although he made no official announcement, Barry Zito believed his playing career had concluded with the end of the minor-league season earlier this month.
CHICAGO — Although he made no official announcement, Barry Zito believed his playing career had concluded with the end of the minor-league season earlier this month.
That’s why he didn’t initially know how to react when Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane called Monday and asked if he was up for pitching in the major leagues again.
“I turned the page on the game eight days before, so it was a little daunting and strange to have to pull that page back again after 15 years,” Zito said Wednesday after joining the A’s before the game with the Chicago White Sox.
“Just, was it the best thing for me? It ended up that my wife was really telling me all the things I needed to hear and ended up saying this is going to be a lot of fun,” he said.
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Zito returned to the A’s on a minor-league contract this season and spent the entire year with Class AAA Nashville, where he went 8-7 with a 3.46 earned-run average in 24 games.
He last pitched for the A’s in Game 1 of the 2006 AL Championship Series against Detroit and has not pitched in the majors since 2013, with San Francisco.
Zito won the 2002 AL Cy Young Award with Oakland and went 102-63 with a 3.53 ERA over seven seasons with the A’s before leaving as a free agent to sign a $126 million, seven-year deal with the Giants in December 2006.
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• The San Diego Padres said right-hander Josh Johnson, who has been sidelined for two seasons, will have a third reconstructive elbow surgery.
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