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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 2, 2010

MLB: Just like regular season, Giants’ Zito already getting booed

By Daniel Brown
San Jose Mercury News

SAN FRANCISCO — Baseball was back in the Bay Area on Thursday night. For proof, there was a buzzing crowd, a chilly San Francisco wind — and a chorus of boos for Barry Zito.

Play ball!

The Athletics' 9-0 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park was the first game for both teams after six weeks in Arizona. It was one of their final exhibition tuneups before Monday's opening day.

Zito, however, hardly looked ready for the real thing. The Giants left-hander gave up five runs in three innings and finished spring training with a 6.35 ERA.

"Just throw it away," Zito said of his last spring start. "The timing was off. I've got a couple of things I'm going to clean up. "& I don't want to make too much of it."

In his five Cactus League appearances, opponents hit Zito at a .317 clip. On Thursday, he gave up seven more hits, walked a batter and made an error on a pickoff throw.

Still, Zito vowed to be ready when the regular-season bell rings.

"I felt good all spring," he said.

Manager Bruce Bochy said Zito was rushing his delivery — an easy problem to fix.

"He was just quick tonight," he said. "He was out of sync and we as a team were out of sync."

A's catcher Kurt Suzuki was Zito's biggest tormentor. He touched him for a long ball (two-run homer in the first) and a short one (an infield single just under the pitcher's glove in the third).

Suzuki went 3 for 4 and finished a triple shy of the cycle as part of the A's 17-hit barrage. Coco Crisp also went 3 for 4 to raise his spring average to .444 and Kevin Kouzmanoff went 3 for 5, including a run-scoring double to the opposite field.

The Giants' offense, meanwhile, barely mustered a peep off A's starter Justin Duchscherer. In his first appearance on a major league mound since Aug. 18, 2008, Duchscherer looked like he'd regained the form that made him a two-time All-Star.

He threw six scoreless innings, striking out six and walking two.

"It's definitely a good, positive thing to build on," Duchscherer said.

The right-hander missed all of last season after his rehabilitation from elbow surgery was halted after he was diagnosed with clinical depression.

This marked a big step in his comeback.

"Awesome," Duchscherer said. "It's been a long time. Last year, I went through a lot of stuff off the field, and there was one point where I thought maybe I'd never play again.

"So, for me, I'm proud of myself for getting through what I needed to get through to get back out there. It's still spring training. I have a long way to go during the season, but it feels good to be back out there."