Barry Zito could be left off San Francisco's NLDS roster entirely

It turns out that A.J. Burnett(notes) might not be the only high-priced pitcher passed over in the first round of the playoffs.

Out west, the San Francisco Giants are in a position to tell Barry Zito(notes) that his "Magic Unicorn Hour" services won't be needed against the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.

When discussing his upcoming rotation, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he was considering either Tim Lincecum(notes) on short rest or rookie Madison Bumgarner(notes) when (and if) Monday's Game 4 rolls around.

Here's what Bochy said on Tuesday morning when asked if Zito and his $126 million contract would even be on the 25-man playoff roster (via @dandibley):

"Hard for me to say that right now. Gotta get with Sabes [GM Brian Sabean] and the staff first"

Zito being left off the roster wouldn't come as a huge surprise. He was 1-8 with a 6.80 ERA over his final 10 starts and only lasted three innings in a clinching opportunity against the San Diego Padres on Saturday. And as Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News notes, he wouldn't have much value to the Giants coming out of the bullpen. Bumgarner could do either, which is why he'll end up with a spot.

Unlike the Yankees with Burnett's struggles, the Giants have the starting depth to not worry about Zito's possible absence. Their stockpile of arms is part of what's making this possible.

But you have to figure that it comes as major disappointment to Zito. After going an encouraging 7-3 with a 2.94 in April and May, this probably wasn't the type of finish he was envisioning.

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