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04/27/08 9:03 PM ET
Giants pondering shakeup for Zito
Lefty could skip start or go to bullpen after struggles continue
By Jayson Addcox / Special to MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito stood in front of his locker and addressed the media with an apology for another terrible performance. The apology came after the Reds put together a six-run first inning on their way to 10-1 victory over the Giants in front of 39,050 disgruntled fans at AT&T Park on Sunday afternoon. Zito managed just three innings in the outing and was summoned to manager Bruce Bochy's office after the game. "Obviously, I'm hurting the team right now," Zito said. "I just have to keep grinding and fighting. For me this is an opportunity to stick it out and toe the line." Bochy called his pitcher into his office after the game to notify him that he may be sent to the bullpen or have his next start skipped. "We can't keep doing what we are doing. We need to get together and get a game plan on what we think is best," Bochy said. "I'm sure there's a lot on his mind. He's got a lot of pride and he's taking this harder than anybody." Zito never got a grip on his latest outing, walking the first batter of the game and then allowing a single and another walk to load the bases. Then the defense couldn't come up with a big play for him, allowing a blooper off the bat of Brandon Phillips to drop in short right field. "We haven't really jumped anybody like that in a long time early in the game. That's what we've been trying to do, especially on the road," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "Zito helped us some. He wasn't sharp or [the] Zito that I've seen many times. You've got to take advantage of that." The bloop single, which dropped in front of Randy Winn and right over the outstretched arm of Eugenio Velez, opened the door for the Reds' six-run first inning. According to Winn, that play changed the complexion of the game. "I have to absolutely come up with that ball," Winn said. "We've been kind of sloppy on defense behind Zito and that play changed the complexion of the game. When a guy is struggling, you have to pick him up." One batter later, the defense failed to pick up Zito again. This time it was on a single to right-center field, which was booted by Winn, allowing two more runs to score.
Zito never recovered from that inning, but even with the shaky defense behind him, Zito didn't show the command that made him the 2002 American League Cy Young Award winner. Zito was consistently missing up in the zone and fell behind hitters the entire game.
Zito (0-6) went three innings, allowing eight runs on seven hits while walking three batters. In six starts this season, the lefty has allowed 30 runs (24 earned) while striking out just 11 batters in 28 2/3 innings.
The lefty said his confidence isn't great right now, but he knows what he can do on the mound and he knows he can turn it around.
"In life you can't just give in," Zito said. "Throwing in the towel and giving up, that's not part of who I am."
Part of Bochy's plan to possibly skip Zito's spot in the rotation derived from the solid performance by rookie Pat Misch, who was recalled prior to the game. Misch pitched six solid innings in relief of Zito, allowing just two runs on five hits.
Offensively, the Giants never figured out Reds starting pitcher Edinson Volquez, who struck out 10 batters in seven innings, allowing just one run on five hits.
The Giants scored their only run of the game in the third inning when Emmanuel Burriss, pinch-hitting for Zito, hit an infield single and came around to score on a base hit by Winn.
With the loss, the Giants have now dropped two straight games after winning three in a row.
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Jayson Addcox is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.