SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) – Making perhaps his final start for the San Francisco Giants Wednesday against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers will be left-hander Barry Zito (4-11, 5.91). If so, it will be a quiet exit for one of the most prominent Bay Area sports figures over the last decade plus.
San Francisco owns an $18 million club option to retain him for next year, but the southpaw has largely failed to live up to his contract since joining the Giants in 2007.
Zito has dropped three straight starts while allowing 15 runs over 11 2-3 innings, surrendering 20 hits – including four home runs – and six walks. He hasn’t recorded a victory since May 30.
“I can’t tell you how much we pull for him. He’s such a good teammate,” manager Bruce Bochy. “I know he’s in a tough rut and you don’t want to see anybody go through those rough streaks. You hate to see him have to go through it.”
Much of Zito’s success came after breaking through with the Oakland Athletics in 200o. A 3-time all-star with the A’s, Zito also won pitching’s top honor – the Cy Young Award in 2002.
In late 2006, Zito signed a $126 million 7-year deal to cross the bay and join the Giants for the 2007 season. His time in a Giants uniform has been marked with up and down performances highlighted by his strong showing during the team’s 2012 World Series run.
The Giants will have to pay the southpaw a $7 million buyout if they don’t pick up his option for the 2014 season.
Another win by the Dodgers on Wednesday would even the season series at nine wins for each team. Los Angeles hasn’t won the season series since 2009.
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