Zito won’t face A’s

SAN FRANCISCO — For the first season since he joined the Giants, Barry Zito will not face his former Oakland teammates.

Skeptics might say that this is just as well. Zito’s backers, as well as the man himself. Pitching at his best as a Giant, Zito wanted to take his game to the A’s, for whom he excelled from 2000-06.

“This being a new year, having my stuff back pretty much the way I want it, especially in their yard — I was really looking forward to that,” Zito said Sunday. “I checked the schedule at the beginning of the [season] but it didn’t work out. So, next year.”

Zito had hoped to reverse his fortunes against the A’s, who treated him rudely in 2007-08. He lost all three of his starts against them while recording a 9.22 ERA. His worst outing against Oakland was his first — on May 18, 2007 at the Coliseum. Aware that Zito probably would try to nibble at the corners of home plate, A’s hitters went into full “Moneyball” mode and took inordinate numbers of pitches, content to draw walks. Zito indeed walked seven while lasting just four innings and allowing the first seven runs in Oakland’s 15-3 victory.

But, with Jonathan Sanchez pitching Monday night for the Giants, redemption remains the theme for a Giants left-hander.

— Chris Haft  

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