Notes: Zito's charity gets Sept. 11 boost

Notes: Zito's charity gets Sept. 11 boost

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Sept. 11 anniversary is a somber occasion, but Tuesday's observance will reflect the good news that Barry Zito's team is growing.

Zito's Strikeouts for Troops charity will receive a huge assist from USAA, a financial services company helping members of the military, which plans to donate $400 for each strikeout recorded in every Major League game Tuesday. The contribution should be generous, since both leagues will play a full schedule.

"Unless we get severe thunderstorms everywhere, it should be a good day," Zito said Monday.

Zito credited his publicist, Kathy Jacobson, for helping cement USAA's involvement. "She spearheaded the whole effort," Zito said.

Strikeouts for Troops, the non-partisan program founded by Zito in 2005, is designed to help wounded servicemen and women as they recuperate, largely by facilitating visits from relatives and loved ones to provide the comforts of home.

USAA already has begun matching the $400 Zito contributes for each of his strikeouts. This year, Zito added, numerous Major Leaguers have joined him in pledging money per strikeout or home run or RBI, swelling the number of players participating in his program from around 30 to close to 50.

"We just want to keep going and keep rolling," Zito said.

Safe from Sadecki: Assuming the Giants maintain their current pitching rotation, Matt Cain (7-14) has three starts remaining this season, which assures him of falling short of Ray Sadecki's club record for losses in a season since the franchise moved to San Francisco. Sadecki lost 18 games in 1968.

That happened to be the Year of the Pitcher, which influenced Sadecki's fate. He pitched six shutouts -- half of his 12 victories -- and recorded a respectable 2.91 ERA. But the Giants were blanked eight times when he pitched, including four starts in a row. He lost two 2-1 games and dropped two others by 3-2 and 3-1.

Cain also has been victimized by poor run support. But Sadecki played with Willie Mays and Willie McCovey on a team that finished third in the league in scoring that season -- although the Giants averaged a mere 3.67 runs per game.

"Usually the punchline for losing that many games is, 'You must have had a lousy scoring team.' We didn't!" Sadecki said recently while in town for ceremonies to honor the 40th anniversary of Mike McCormick's Cy Young Award. "We just didn't score on the days I pitched."

But, as has been the case with Cain, Sadecki never came close to losing his spot in the rotation.

"You have to be pitching pretty darned good to lose 18 games, because they don't keep sending you out there if you're getting your brains beat out," Sadecki said.

Short hops: Right-hander Randy Messenger pitched a two-inning simulated game and will be activated soon, although manager Bruce Bochy wasn't certain exactly when. ... Class A San Jose grabbed a 2-0 lead in its best-of-five California League playoff series Sunday by defeating Visalia, 5-0, as right-hander Adam Cowart surrendered three hits in eight innings. Travis Denker homered for the second game in a row, and Travis Ishikawa also homered.

Coming up: The Giants and Diamondbacks continue their series Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. PT, with converted relievers Kevin Correia of the Giants and Edgar Gonzalez of the Diamondbacks facing each other.

Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.