OAKLAND -- Barry Zito will make one more rehab start before the Giants decide what to do with him, but that plan is seemingly becoming clearer by the day.
The left-hander, working his way back from a right mid-foot sprain, said he felt good after Thursday's start for Triple-A Fresno, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy said it was a fair assumption that Zito will rejoin the Major League club in time for their June 28 doubleheader against the Cubs in Chicago.
"He's stretched out. He's been in our rotation, so that would make all the sense in the world for him to be in the mix there," Bochy said. "It's something [general manager] Brian [Sabean] and I will talk about after his next start."
- 131 wins
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Zito's pitching line for Fresno wasn't particularly impressive, as he gave up four runs on five hits and two walks, but he also struck out six and threw 96 pitches. Bochy had originally said he wanted Zito to throw 100 or more, but Zito said it wouldn't have made any sense for him to start another inning just to throw four more pitches.
"As far as the foot goes, everything felt good on that front," said Zito, who is 3-0 with a 3.20 ERA in three rehab starts. "The ball felt good coming out of my hand. Offspeed was there for the most part. It was a good outing."
Making one of the doubleheader starts seems to be the most logical move for Zito. If the Giants didn't use him, one of their regular starters would have to pitch on short rest in his next outing, which is an unnecessary move when they will have six starters ready to go at that point.
What will happen with Zito after that point, however, remains to be seen. Bochy has repeatedly said that right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who took Zito's spot after his injury, will remain in the rotation -- not a big surprise given his 4-1 record, 1.92 ERA and 54 strikeouts to 18 walks.
Belt gets cast off wrist, could return in two weeks
OAKLAND -- With the almost overwhelming number of injuries the Giants have suffered this season, the fact that their top prospect fractured his wrist has almost been lost in the shuffle. But Brandon Belt is making progress and could be back on the field within two weeks.
Belt had his cast removed Friday and was wearing a protective splint on his left wrist, and the left-handed slugger was scheduled to begin throwing Friday in Oakland as well. It still should be about a week until he begins taking swings, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Belt was hit by a fastball from the Cardinals' Trever Miller on May 31 and has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 4.
Utility man Mike Fontenot, meanwhile, is not recovering from his left groin strain as quickly as planned. Fontenot was still with the club in Oakland and worked out on the field before the game after his rehab assignment with Triple-A Fresno came to an abrupt halt on June 10 because he aggravated the injury.
"He's not coming along quite as fast as we were hoping. It's hard to put when he'll be ready," Bochy said. "He certainly could help."
Bochy said he was hoping Fontenot would be able to restart his rehab within the next day or two, and he would ideally be back within the week to help off the bench, at second base or at shortstop.
Rounding out the injury report, outfielder Darren Ford (sprained left ankle) made his first rehab start for Fresno on Thursday night, going 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
A's skipper knows Giants can contend
OAKLAND -- A's manager Bob Melvin refuted the skeptics who insist that the Giants can't continue to survive while scoring poorly and relying on one-run victories.Melvin, who became Oakland's skipper June 9, cited the 2007 Arizona Diamondbacks, one of the clubs he previously managed, as a team that survived by living on the edge. That year's D-backs ranked 14th in the league in runs and were outscored, 732-712. Yet Arizona won the National League West with a 90-72 record and defeated the Chicago Cubs in the Division Series before losing to Colorado in the NLCS. Those D-backs posted a Major League-best 32-20 record in one-run games during the regular season. Compare that with this year's Giants, who entered Friday 39-30 despite having scored as many runs as they had allowed (243). San Francisco leads the Majors with a 19-10 mark in one-run games. Melvin echoed what various Giants have repeated: Thriving in those circumstances becomes a state of mind. "You start playing a lot of them and have success in them, and when you're in those types of games, everybody's confident that you're going to win," Melvin said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Adam Berry is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.