With a gutsy shut-out performance on a wet, dreary day in Chicago, San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong earned a spot in the hearts of Giants fans. Now, it is up to team management, whether or not to reward Vogelsong's play with Barry Zito's spot in the starting rotation.
Vogelsong, with his 3-0 record and 2.36 ERA, appears to be getting stronger with each game. He has developed into a pitcher that is able to get the key out when he needs it the most and the Giants have won all four games he has started.
Zito's on the field struggles have gotten progressively worse since signing with the Giants, including his 9-14 record and 4.15 ERA during the 2010 season, that led to him being left off the roster during the team's championship run.
Vogelsong has also brought a new energy to the team during a time when key players like Pablo Sandoval and Andres Torres (now back from the disabled list) were lost to injury. Though he has never been a problem in the clubhouse, Zito has never brought the emotional leadership the team hoped for when they signed him to a $126 million contract.
Indeed, Giants' management will have Zito's large contract lingering over any move they decide to make.
Zito, who injured his foot in April, will begin minor league rehab assignments, and may be ready as soon as next week. However, Vogelsong's strong play gives the Giants and Zito the opportunity and time to consider a permanent career move to the bullpen.