Keywords: zito surf
Description: Soon-to-be former Giant was reminded in win versus Dodgers that he still loves the game.
SAN FRANCISCO — After making one final start by McCovey Cove, Barry Zito is ready to return to the ocean.
"I'll definitely get on a surfboard," Zito said Wednesday, when asked about his offseason plans. "That's something I've missed for seven years."
The rest of Zito's future remains murky. He's spent 14 seasons in Northern California, splitting that time equally between the A's and the Giants. Zito had a 5.75 ERA in his final season with the Giants and threw just one pitch that registered 86 mph, but there's one part of his resume that hasn't changed: He's a left-handed pitcher.
While teams won't be emptying the bank accounts as they did in 2006, Zito is still likely to find options if he's willing to go to camp to try to win a job. And even though he'll turn 36 early next season, Zito said he's not ready to hang it up yet.
"I definitely know I still love pitching and I still love the game," Zito said. "If I had any doubts, going out there (Wednesday) reminded me that I do love the game."
Zito threw well in five innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers, giving up just one earned run while picking up his first win in nearly four months. He said he will take a few months off when the season ends Sunday, but his body is healthy and doesn't need much of a break. Zito said he's still prepared mentally, too.
"It was big for me to come out and kind of prove to myself that I'm definitely still able to get guys out," he said after Wednesday's 6-4 win. "It's easy to doubt these things sometimes, but this is definitely a motivating factor. I'm ready to keep pitching."
It won't be in San Francisco. The Giants will decline an option for 2014, instead paying a $7 million buyout. While the club hasn't officially announced the decision, both sides spoke in the past tense Wednesday. Zito said he hasn't given much thought to his 2014 home, but one scout in attendance Wednesday offered that San Diego may give Zito his best chance to be in a rotation next season. Zito went to high school in San Diego and the Padres have been hit hard by pitching injuries over the past two seasons.
"I have no idea. I've never encountered a situation like this in my career," he said. "It's been seven with Oakland, seven here. I don't know. I'm taking every day one at a time right now. It's not time to get ahead of myself, but I'm sure I'll be setting my goals soon."
For more on the Giants, see Alex Pavlovic's Giants Extra blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/Giants. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/AlexPavlovic .