February 04, 2009
Barry Zito rushed from an appearance and autograph session with homeless children straight to the ballpark weight room. He was short on time and needed to fit in his second workout of the day.
The 30-year-old Zito has committed himself to his fitness and offseason program like never before, eager to turn things around as he heads into his third season with the San Francisco Giants. The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner, who received a $126 million, seven-year deal before the 2007 campaign, is a disappointing 21-30 in his two seasons with San Francisco.
"The workouts are awesome," said Zito, who has been training all winter with fitness guru and fellow Giants pitcher Brian Wilson. "We're working out six days a week, two-a-days."
Wilson, the team's closer who has been living with Zito in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles, has witnessed his teammate take some major strides. When they started back on Nov. 1, Zito could do all of three pull-ups. Now he can do 16.
"You can see a good difference," said Wilson, who adheres to the most intense workout regimen and strictest diet of anyone on the Giants. "As far as strength goes, I don't think he's done this kind of work before. The gains are tremendous."
Zito thinks so, too. All of this from someone who once joked that you "can't pull fat" to explain why his routine didn't include weight training.
From band work to yoga, high-intensity karate and weight lifting, they have been doing it all. Their throwing program has consisted of playing catch across a canyon, a distance of more than 200 feet.