He’ll be on the mound when the Giants take on the Arizona Diamondbacks in the middle contest of a three-game series on Saturday.
Zito (1-2, 5.29 ERA), who signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Giants in the offseason, is 0-2 with an 8.18 ERA in his first two home starts at AT&T Park.
However, the left-hander is coming off his best outing of the year. He threw six innings of three-hit ball as the Giants (7-8) beat Colorado 8-0 on Monday. The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner improved to 86-4 all-time when his team scores four or more runs.
“I was a lot more relaxed and didn’t get caught up in everything,” said Zito, who is 1-1 with a 1.23 ERA in two career starts against Arizona. “It’s been an adjustment with a new team, new everything. It was good to get back to my old self.”
The Giants are also playing well as a team right now, having won three in a row and five of six, including Friday’s series-opening 4-2 victory.
Barry Bonds went 2-for-4 with a double and scored twice to raise his batting average to .325, but remained at 738 career home runs. He is expected to play Saturday even though it’s a day game after a night game.
“That’s good,” the 42-year-old Bonds said of his physical condition. “I’m still out there.”
Arizona (10-8) put runners on the corners with two outs in the ninth inning, but Orlando Hudson grounded out to second base to end the game, squandering a chance for his third game-winning hit of the young season.
The second baseman went 3-for-5 for the night, though, and raised his batting average to an NL-leading .389.
Shortstop Stephen Drew, who hit .316 last year as a rookie last year, is batting just .210 (13-for-62) in 2007. After batting leadoff in each of his previous starts, Drew was dropped to second in the order Friday and went 1-for-5.
“Just flipping it up a little bit,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin told the team’s official Web site. “More to take a little pressure off him. It’s not like he can’t handle it. Sometimes if you’re a guy who likes to swing early in the count, you get out of your game just a little bit. It’s not to say he won’t be back in the leadoff spot. Just moving it around a little bit today.”
The Diamondbacks have lost four of their last five games, and six of nine since a six-game win streak.
The right-hander gave up 10 runs in just one inning to lose to the Giants on Sept. 3, 2004, but pitched much better at San Francisco last Sept 25, yielding one run in seven innings of the Diamondbacks’ 7-1 win.
Bonds is 1-for-4 with a homer and a walk in his career versus Gonzalez.