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Oakland A's call up Barry Zito

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The Athletics are calling up Barry Zito, though he won't start.

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics have called up Barry Zito.

Zito, 37, spent the season with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, where he made 22 starts and two relief appearances, earning a 3.46 ERA. Zito went on the disabled list with a shoulder issue in early August and returned to make a one inning relief appearance on September 6, the penultimate game of the Sounds season.

At the time, A's general manager Billy Beane indicated that Zito was unlikely to be called up. Zito told the San Francisco Chronicle that he was continuing a throwing program after the minor league season to keep his options open for next year as he contemplates retirement.

As for the non-entertainment reasons for Zito's call up: Jesse Chavez's placement on the disabled list with a non-displaced rib fracture as well as heavy bullpen use recently prompted the need for additional help for the bullpen and the roster spot for it. Oakland A's assistant general manager David Forst confirmed those sentiments to Susan Slusser:

As for starting a game (particularly the speculated matchup between Zito and Hudson), David Forst says the A's have ruled that out.

Unless maybe not?

Absent the sentimental value of a Zito vs. Hudson matchup on Saturday, September 26 at the Coliseum, the indicators are unlikely Zito would make an extended appearance. Zito has only pitched a single inning since August 6, and Cody Martin is actually going into the rotation at this point. Still, I'm sure A's manager Bob Melvin has heard the clarion call of fans to have him appear against Tim Hudson in Hudson's final career start at the Coliseum, and will do everything he can to get him into that game, as he did in the final exhibition game before this season.