Barry Zito Done as a Starter

Greg CaggianoSenior Writer IApril 28, 2008

After more than one season of horrible pitching, the highest paid pitcher in Major League Baseball is out of the starting rotation.

I would have wished a further demotion, like a trade, but this is the next best thing. So, to all Giants fans out there, how does it feel to have a $126 million middle reliever?

In a few weeks, we better feel pretty damn good or else the franchise will be screwed over even more then it already has been.

This is not the first time in recent memory the Giants have had a struggling starter who was demoted to middle relief.

The last time was 2006 and the pitcher was Matt Cain.

After starting that season 1-5 with an ERA of 7.04, he was demoted to the bullpen for a few innings of work. When he returned, he won his next five starts while lowering his ERA to 4.79.

Don't the pre-bullpen stats look familiar? Yes!

In fact, the familiarity is startling with Zito's stats this season, who is 0-6 with an ERA of 7.53.

So let's see if skipper Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti can work their magic with Zito as he enters the starting pitcher's Frankenstein lab, known as the bullpen.

Note: Left-handed long reliever Patrick Misch is the top candidate to take over for Zito until he returns to the rotation.

In Zito's last start he pitched three innings, allowing seven hits and eight earned runs. Misch then pitched the next six innings while allowing only five hits and two runs in a 10-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.