The Giants will welcome the A's to AT&T Park this weekend for the first half of the annual Bay Bridge Series, and Zito will look to continue one of the hottest season-opening stretches of his career against Oakland right-hander Jarrod Parker.
Zito hasn't found much success against his former club, owning a 1-4 record and 7.24 ERA against Oakland. But for whatever reason, Zito has pitched well this season. He has had only one truly rough start, a 3 2/3-inning outing May 2 in which he walked seven batters but only allowed two runs (one earned). Aside from that and a five-inning start on April 20, Zito has thrown six innings in each of his outings, on the heels of the worst year of his career in 2011.
"I was kind of in and out today. It wasn't a great day for [me] as far as stuff goes, but the curveball bailed me out a couple times," Zito said on Sunday after his last quality start, six innings of three-run ball against the D-backs. "I battled. I was encouraged I was able to close the door on them. They were fighting to get back into the game."
Parker is off to a fine start of his own, allowing two runs or fewer while pitching at least five innings in each of his five career outings, four of which have come this season. This will be his first Interleague start.
The 23-year-old right-hander believes he's a "decent" hitter, having batted .481 with nine homers as a senior in high school, and he'll get a chance to back up his words under the National League's rules this weekend.
"They have to be ready for it, for sure, because you never know the situation," A's manager Bob Melvin said of his pitchers preparing to hit. "The pitchers hitting, you're worried about injury, and it's a progression to try to get them there, prepared for it.
"You don't want too many swings, to where you're starting to tax other muscles you don't normally use. But you also have to do what you can to get them ready."
A's: Inge heads to DL
Brandon Inge joined everyday outfielders Coco Crisp (inner ear infection) and Yoenis Cespedes (left hand) on the sidelines with a strained right groin. Inge was placed on the 15-day disabled list, giving way to infielder Adam Rosales' promotion.
Inge will be eligible to return on May 28, two days before Manny Ramirez is scheduled to arrive. The best-case scenario for the A's is that all their regulars are back on the field by that time.
"That would be the glass-half-full version of it," manager Bob Melvin said. "This is the time for the role players to do their thing, hold down the fort, and we do have some impact bats coming back soon."
Crisp is eligible to come off the DL on Friday, and he's scheduled to take pregame batting practice at AT&T Park. The club will decide Crisp's next step afterward, likely either a Minor League rehab assignment or an immediate return to the big league roster.
Giants: Bochy likes Crawford batting second
Shortstop Brandon Crawford became the ninth different Giants player to find himself in the No. 2 spot in the lineup on Thursday, and there's a chance he may get used to seeing his name there. Crawford went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs, and Bochy said afterward that he planned on leaving Crawford there for a little while.
San Francisco's pitching depth may have taken a big hit, as Bochy expressed some worry over an unspecified setback in left-hander Eric Surkamp's recovery from a strained throwing elbow. Asked if Surkamp might need surgery, Bochy replied, "Obviously, there's concern." Surkamp joined the Giants for six starts toward the end of last season.
The Giants and A's stated their cases on Wednesday to Major League Baseball's executive council regarding the territorial rights to San Jose, but there was no resolution and no timetable offered. The A's want to leave Oakland and build a new ballpark in San Jose, but the Giants have refused to give up their rights to the city and Santa Clara County. Commissioner Bud Selig appointed a committee to analyze the situation three years ago.
"As I've said before, it's a complicated, complex issue," Selig said on Thursday. "People think it's taking a long time, but if you look at all the issues, you'd understand it better."