SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants assuredly won’t pick up Barry Zito’s $18 million option, instead offering him a handshake -- along with his $7 million buyout.
But Zito wants to keep pitching in the big leagues – and Giants manager Bruce Bochy knows that being left-handed has a way of extending your retirement age in this game.
“I think the drive is there,” Bochy said. “As long as you have that … That’s what I told him. That’s what you love about Z. He loves competing. He’s never been one to shy away. He wants to be on that mound and have a chance to win a ballgame.
“That’s going to be a big part of it – how bad does he want it?”
Zito, 35, is 62-80 with a 4.63 ERA in 206 games as a Giant over seven seasons, including 196 starts. He’s back in the bullpen for now with Matt Cain scheduled to come off the disabled list on Saturday. Chad Gaudin (carpal tunnel syndrome) began airing it out from 90 feet on flat ground Thursday, too.
Bochy said talk of a “farewell” home start for Zito hasn’t been discussed yet. But the left-hander stopped in the visiting manager’s office Wednesday in San Diego to thank Bochy for the last three starts he’s given him.
“That’s the type of person he is,” Bochy said. “Instead of being upset, he’s going back to the bullpen.”
Jeremy Affeldt (strained groin) passed the tests in fielding practice Thursday. He’s on schedule to throw another simulated session on Friday.
There’s a reason the Giants held PFP with Affeldt in an empty stadium.
“We didn’t want to hurt anybody,” Bochy joked.