DETROIT -- Barry Zito will be short on rest and long on enthusiasm Saturday night when he confronts the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
Zito will start on three days' rest, one fewer than usual. Moreover, he'll be facing a formidable Tigers lineup that features three hitters ranked among the American League's top 10 in batting average (Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta). But Zito, who'll be making his second appearance since recovering from a sprained right foot, sounded willing to go to the mound under any circumstance.
"I'm just excited to pitch right now," Zito said Friday. "If it gets me another start even quicker, yeah, I want to take the ball."
Zito's competitive hunger grew last Tuesday, when he allowed only two runs and four hits in seven innings as the Giants defeated Chicago, 6-3, in the second half of a day-night doubleheader at Wrigley Field. After that outing, Giants manager Bruce Bochy called Zito into his office and informed the left-hander that he might be needed Saturday.
"We're going to be careful with the three days' rest," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "At the same time, if it's all going well, we're not going to baby him. There was no hesitation when I mentioned it to him."
Zito said that skipping his long-toss throwing Thursday was the only adjustment he made in his between-starts routine. The fact that he throws more than the average pitcher between starts probably makes him better suited to handle this assignment.
"I don't really make a big deal out of it as far as physically," Zito said. "You're either good to go or you're not. ... My body certainly can handle whatever the demands are. I think it should be no problem to go out there and throw 100-plus pitches."
Zito never has pitched on three days' rest in the regular season. But he did so in the 2003 Division Series for Oakland against Boston. He defeated the Red Sox on Oct. 2, yielding one run and five hits in seven innings, before blanking Boston for five innings on Oct. 6. But Jason Varitek and Manny Ramirez homered in a four-run sixth, finishing him.