The Oakland Athletics have called up Barry Zito.
#Athletics select Barry Zito from Nashville, recall Cody Martin from Nashville, place Jesse Chavez on the 60-day DL— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) September 16, 2015
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:
David Forst tells me Zito callup strictly because of need in bullpen after long games and many injuries. Will only pitch in relief.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 16, 2015
As for starting a game (particularly the speculated matchup between Zito and Hudson), David Forst says the A's have ruled that out.
The #Athletics will not start Zito in any games, including Hudson game projected for Sept. 26. But could come out of bullpen that day.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 16, 2015
Unless maybe not?
Billy Beane tells me he wouldn't rule out a Tim Hudson-Barry Zito matchup next weekend.."That might be a nice reunion," he says @Athletics— John Hickey (@JHickey3) September 16, 2015
However, Billy Beane also says #Athletics have not talked internally about Barry Zito starting. Zito is up to give ailing A's pitching depth— John Hickey (@JHickey3) September 16, 2015
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.