Athletics' Barry Zito allows two runs in first MLB inning of 2015

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Athletics' Barry Zito allows two runs in first MLB inning of 2015
« on: September 22, 2015, 09:39:16 AM »
The first results weren't as hoped, but Barry Zito did it -- he made it back. In the first appearance of what is expected to be a brief farewell tour, Zito returned to the major leagues with the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon, allowing two runs over an inning of relief against the Houston Astros. Hanging a 69 mph curve ball, Zito allowed a two-run home run to Colby Rasmus in the eighth inning of a 5-1 loss at Minute Maid Park.


Athletics' Barry Zito allows two runs in first MLB inning of 2015
By David Brown | Baseball Writer
September 20, 2015 8:19 pm ET

The first results weren't as hoped, but Barry Zito did it -- he made it back. In the first appearance of what is expected to be a brief farewell tour, Zito returned to the major leagues with the Oakland Athletics on Sunday afternoon, allowing two runs over an inning of relief against the Houston Astros. Hanging a 69 mph curve ball, Zito allowed a two-run home run to Colby Rasmus in the eighth inning of a 5-1 loss at Minute Maid Park.

Here's his inning on video:

There he was: The long black hair; the big, green socks. It was Zito. Maybe not at his best, but it was him. Zito liked how he threw against the Astros, who are vying for a playoff spot. The A's are playing out the string. Zito is playing out his own personal string after pitching nearly 2,570 innings in the majors.

Via MLB.com:

    "Had all three pitches working for the most part, felt comfortable with all three, and it was good to go out there. I don't want to give up runs, obviously, but it's good to know it feels good out there. I'm ready to get ready for my next one, whenever that is."

    Zito, who last appeared in an A's uniform on Oct. 10, 2006, in the American League Championship Series, threw 26 pitches, surprising himself with how fresh he felt afterward.

    The former American League Cy Young Award winner and three-time All-Star spent all season with Triple-A Nashville after signing a Minor League contract in the offseason, going 8-7 with a 3.46 ERA in 22 starts.

    "Just being in Spring Training with them was awesome," Zito said. "Obviously, being able to be a part of the team in the regular season is a huge bonus, for sure. I didn't expect it, that's an understatement."

Zito began his career with the A's in 2000, and won the AL Cy Young in 2002. He signed a $126 million free-agent contract with the cross-bay Giants after the 2006 season, and sat out 2014 after that deal expired.

Succeeding in the minors but stuck there after signing a deal with the A's he hoped would result in a major-league job at 37 years old with his first team, Zito finally got the call from team president Billy Beane on Wednesday, long after initial September roster expansion came and went without a big-league invitation. Zito had been under the impression his career was ending as he nursed a sore shoulder while having one eye on a post-retirement job as a songwriter. Zito has been a musician pretty much as long as he's been a ballplayer, and he gained valuable contacts and exposure to the music scene playing for the A's Triple-A team at Nashville, Tenn.

Zito will have a chance to pitch in front of the old home crowd at the O.co Coliseum this week. He might even get a chance to start a game against former teammate Tim Hudson, who also has retirement plans, when the Giants come to Oakland starting Friday. That would be a neat way to go out. Not many major leaguers get such a chance to leave on their own terms.

[Coll.]