Barry Zito

Barry Zito massages strike zone, should focus on neck instead

In a losing effort Saturday, Zito managed just 54 strikes on 99 pitches. Those 45 misses equated to six walks, the most Zito has given up since issuing seven to the Miami Marlins on May 2nd.

Following the game, manager Bruce Bochy was quick to defend his pitcher, hinting that Zito might not be completely healthy.

“I will say this: Before the game, (Zito) had something going on with this neck,” Bochy said.

“Something is going on” isn’t necessarily innuendo for a larger issue, but Zito has had a recent run in with neck issues.

Zito suffered a minor neck injury just prior to the start of the 2011 season. The injury was incurred when Zito’s car was broadsided while he was driving near his West Hollywood home. The injury did not require Zito to miss anytime.

A 1983 study by the Bristol Royal Infirmary found that 44% of patients with similar injuries to Zito’s still experienced neck pain as much as 20 months after the car accident. 20% of these patients had neck pain so severe that it caused them to regularly miss work (Funny aside, this study is focused on insurance claims and how many injuries improve following a claim filing. 50% of patients with similar injuries to Zito reported that their neck injuries improved after they received their insurance settlement checks).

Whether Zito’s stiff neck will require him to miss work is yet to be seen, but the situation is worth keeping an eye on.


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