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Barry Zito is the third pitcher since 1956 to post an 0-6 mark in the month of April. ((Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press))

Starting pitcher Barry Zito was demoted to the bullpen Monday by the San Francisco Giants, who signed him to a seven-year, $126-million US contract 16 months ago.

Zito, 29, is still seeking his first win this season, posting an 0-6 record with a 7.53 earned-run average in six starts.

Only three pitchers since 1956 have gone 0-6 in April - Dave Stewart (1984), Mike Maroth (2003) and Zito.

"I'm certainly not happy with it, by any means," Zito said. "But this is the bed that I have made.

"I have to lay in it for the time being and I have to overcome. I trust management and I trust what their decisions are."

"It is good, sometimes, just to back off," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It has happened to a lot of great players — position players and even pitchers."

Zito, winner of the American League's Cy Young Award as top pitcher in 2002, made one relief appearance last season.

The three-time all-star is 113-82 with a 3.73 ERA and nine complete games in 262 appearances (261 starts) over nine MLB seasons for the Oakland Athletics and Giants.   

"We just felt, at this point, it is time for him to sit back, miss a start and help us in the pen," Bochy said. "We will watch and see how things go.".

Zito was drafted in the first round by Oakland in 1999 and spent seven seasons for the Athletics before signing with San Franciso as a free agent on Dec. 29, 2006.

The stylish left-hander is one of the most durable pitchers in the major leagues, making 247 consecutive starts.

With files from the Associated Press