SAN FRANCISCO -- A more mechanically polished Barry Zito will make what could be his final Minor League injury rehabilitation start Thursday for Triple-A Fresno against Tacoma.
Recovered from a sprained right foot, Zito delivered another smooth performance for high-Class A San Jose on Saturday night. The left-hander worked seven innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits in the Giants' 8-3 victory over Modesto. One of the hits Zito yielded was a sixth-inning home run by Nolan Arenado. In two rehab outings for San Jose, Zito is 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA.
Performing his between-starts workout routine Sunday at AT&T Park, Zito said that he wants to be able to throw at least 100 pitches in a game before the Giants activate him from the disabled list. His current high is 95.
One of the most noteworthy moments in Zito's latest appearance occurred when he had to field a bunt -- the same play he was trying to execute when he injured himself on April 16.
"That was my first in-game bunt play," Zito said. "It was kind of going back to the source of the injury there and I was fine."
Zito said that he has adjusted his pitching delivery slightly in an attempt to throw more from a downhill plane, boost his drive toward the plate and facilitate his ability to follow through over his front foot -- items on every pitcher's mechanical checklist. Zito noted that the change is so minute that nobody will notice it.
"In the middle of the season you can't really make huge adjustments," Zito said. "You just have to refine things. It's more of a tweaking than anything major."