SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Zito intends to start Saturday against the Miami Marlins despite the death of his father, Joseph, in Van Nuys, Calif., on Wednesday. The elder Zito was 84.
"His routine will remain the same," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who discussed the matter with Zito. "There's nothing that's going to change, right now. He's scheduled to go."
Joseph Zito was influential in his son's pitching development. A composer, conductor and arranger with Nat King Cole's band in the early 1960s, Joseph Zito knew extremely little about baseball. But once Barry demonstrated passion and aptitude for the game as a young boy, Joseph did all he could to nurture his son's interest.
Joseph had a pitcher's mound installed in the backyard of the family's home. He brought Barry instructional books about pitching. Moreover, he scheduled pitching lessons for Barry with Randy Jones, the former San Diego Padres ace and 1976 National League Cy Young Award winner. Zito proceeded to win the 2002 American League Cy Young Award with Oakland.
"The loss of my father, Joseph Zito, has presented me with a difficulty I could not predict," Zito said in a statement issued by the Giants. "Through his unprecedented dedication as a father, he instilled in me the faculties which have enabled me to handle all of life's challenges in a positive way. He will forever be in my heart. God bless my father, and I know that one day I will be reunited with he and my mother Roberta."
Said Giants president and CEO Larry Baer in a statement, "The Giants organization was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Barry's father, Joseph Zito. The special relationship that Barry and his dad shared showed so many of us in the Giants family how special the bond between a father and son can be. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Barry, his wife Amber and his sisters, Bonnie and Sally."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Andrew Owens is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @OwensAndrew. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.