Zito says it's time to get serious
Opening Day starter will treat next two outings like real games
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- One last time, Barry Zito could shrug off his inelegant pitching line as a reflection of Spring Training growing pains.After Saturday, he's swearing off this kind of rationalizing. Zito allowed seven runs and seven hits as the Giants defeated Seattle, 14-8, in a split-squad game. His ERA dwindled slightly, from 17.18 to 14.92, but he walked four and hasn't struck out any of the 67 batters he has faced in the Cactus League. He has allowed seven runs or more in three of his four outings. Yet Zito's performance included some redeeming factors. The Opening Day starter became the first Giant to work into the sixth inning, lasting 5 1/3. He recovered nicely after yielding Kenji Johjima's first-inning grand slam, allowing two singles over the next three innings. Zito intends to treat his final two exhibition starts more like the real thing as he prepares for the March 31 opener at Los Angeles. "We're definitely going to start worrying more about pitch selection, working hitters and worry less about just getting our work in," he said. "You approach it more like a real start."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.