Struggling Zito reverts to familiar delivery


Struggling Zito reverts to familiar delivery

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Barry Zito began the spring with a new, croucheddelivery. He ended it in full duck-and-cover mode.

And now, with opening day around the corner, the Giants haveasked Zito to hit the reset button. He threw from a more familiar, uprightdelivery during Sundays side session with pitching coach Dave Righetti, Giantsmanager Bruce Bochy said.

Talking to Rags, he was OK, Bochy said. A little moreupright.

Righetti wont be able to supervise Zito on Wednesday, sincethe left-handers start will come in minor league camp. The Giants will sendnon-roster right-hander Yusmeiro Petit in Zitos place to face the As atAT&T Park.

The schedule change was designed to ensure that Zito couldbuild his pitch count something that he couldnt do in his last twoexhibition starts as he got hammered for 10 runs on 16 hits (10 extra-basehits) and five walks in 5 13 innings. Zito retired just 12 of 34 batters overthat span without the assistance of a sacrifice or a tag play on the bases.

With few alternatives, Zito remains scheduled to pitch theGiants fourth game of the season April 9 against the Rockies. Its Coloradoshome opener.

Zito, who is still owed 46 million, attempted to mimic TimLincecums delivery during an offseason working with noted pitching guru TomHouse. But observers both inside and outside the Giants organization tell methat Zito doesnt have the arm speed or athleticism to pull off that delivery.Zitos arm drags behind his body as he plants his front foot, leading tohittable pitches at the belt.

Former top prospect Andy Marte dies from car accident in Dominican Republic

Former top prospect Andy Marte dies from car accident in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte died early Sunday from a traffic accident in his native Dominican Republic.

Metropolitan traffic authorities say Marte died when the Mercedes Benz he was driving hit a house along a road between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.

Marte, a 33-year-old infielder, played for several Major League teams, including Atlanta, Cleveland and Arizona, and was most recently playing in the Korean league.

Marte was playing in the Dominican winter league with the Aguilas Cibaenas team.

"We have awoken this Sunday with this sad news that we have lost a special being," club president Winston Llenas said in a statement about Marte.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

Santiago Casilla says he never received offer from Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — Over the final month of his time with the Giants, it became clear that Santiago Casilla and the team would part ways. On Friday, Casilla confirmed that he never had the opportunity to return. 

On a conference call to announce a two-year deal with the Oakland A’s, Casilla said he “would have been happy to return to the Giants, but I never got an offer from them. I understood.”

Casilla said he had several opportunities to go elsewhere and close, mentioning the Milwaukee Brewers as one interested team. Casilla signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the A’s, who likely won’t need him to pitch in the ninth. The Brewers went on to bring in Neftali Feliz for one year and $5.35 million; he is expected to close. 

“I preferred to return to the Athletics because that’s where my career started,” Casilla said through interpreter Manolo Hernández Douen. “And I’m very excited.”

Casilla spent the first six years of his career with the A’s before crossing the bridge and becoming a key figure in three title runs. In seven seasons in San Francisco, he posted a 2.42 ERA and saved 123 games. Casilla had a 0.92 ERA in the postseason, but he was stripped of a prominent role in the weeks leading up to the 2016 playoffs. 

Casilla, 36, blew nine saves before being pulled from the ninth inning. He appeared just three times in the final 14 regular season games and just once in the playoffs. He did not take the mound in Game 4 of the NLDS, watching as five other relievers teamed up to give back a three-run lead. 

That moment stung Casilla, and it affected Bruce Bochy, too. The Giants struck quickly in December to bring Mark Melancon in as their new closer, but at the Winter Meetings, Bochy said he would welcome Casilla back in a setup role. 

“He’s a great team player (and) teammate,” Bochy said. “(I) certainly wouldn’t rule it out because he still has great stuff. And he had some hiccups there in that closing role, but I would take him anytime.”

As it turned out, that opportunity was never there for Casilla. The Giants didn’t make another move after the big deal with Melancon, and they’ll rely on younger arms to record most of the outs in the seventh and eighth. Casilla said he’s not bitter about the way it all ended. 

“I have left that in the past,” he said. “It’s a new year, it’s a new year. I have left this in the past.”