Zito will be Giants' No. 4 starter, ahead of Vogelsong

The SportsXchange

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy didn't take long to set his 2013 rotation. Tentatively, at least. It's not much different from 2012. Same five guys, just a bit of a change in the order.

Barry Zito isn't the No. 5 starter.

Ryan Vogelsong is.

Say what?

Vogelsong won 14 games last year, 27 over the past two years. He was picked as a starter for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

Fact is, Bochy doesn't perceive Vogelsong as a No. 5 starter. While the manager didn't fully explain why Vogelsong is fifth, two things are clear: Bochy wants to reward Barry Zito for his 2012 performance, so he made Zito the No. 4 starter, meaning he'll pitch the home opener. Also, Bochy didn't want to bury Tim Lincecum at the bottom of the rotation and, therefore, made him No. 3.

Matt Cain will throw the season opener at Dodger Stadium on April 1, and lefty Madison Bumgarner will pitch the second game.

As to the alignment, Bochy said, "I don't want these guys to get caught in it, and I don't want to send that message either. At the end of the year, if they're all healthy, knock on wood, they'll all have the same number of starts."

With the Giants down 3-1 in the NL Championship Series, Zito beat the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 5, beginning a momentous comeback. The lefty also beat the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of the World Series.

In the regular season, Zito posted his first winning record as a Giant. It was the sixth year of his seven-year, $126 million contract.

His first start would be against ... St. Louis.

"It's going to be exciting to be there. It's going to be a great vibe there," Zito said. "Pitching against the Cardinals is going to be great, coming off last year."
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