PHOENIX -- After taking a year off to travel, surf and enjoy life away from baseball, former Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito is looking to make a comeback.
Agent Scott Boras told reporters at the MLB general managers' meetings Wednesday that Zito, 36, is hoping to return to the majors as a starter in 2015. Boras said that Zito moved to Houston in September and has been working out daily with that goal in mind.
"He called me on the phone in August and said, 'I'm ready to go. I want to pitch,''' Boras said. "He set up the plan and did all of that.''
Zito, a first-round draft pick by Oakland in 1999, went 165-143 with a 4.02 ERA over 14 seasons with the Athletics and San Francisco Giants. He made three All-Star teams and enjoyed his best season in 2002, when he posted a 23-5 record with a 2.75 ERA for Oakland to beat out Pedro Martinez for the American League Cy Young Award.
Zito signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with San Francisco in December 2006. He went 63-80 with a 4.62 ERA as a Giant and was generally regarded as a major disappointment, but Boras said that notion is inaccurate because Zito helped the team win two World Series.
"You hear honest and valued owners say, 'You know, Barry Zito's contract was wonderful, because we won two world championships. We hired a hen to sit on our eggs of (Matt) Cain, (Tim) Lincecum and (Jonathan) Sanchez, and look where our system is because we had a guy who could take on the No. 1 role for a couple of years and put us in that position,''' Boras said.
Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder led Oakland to three AL West titles and four straight postseason berths as the team's acclaimed "Big Three'' from 200-2003. Hudson, 39, has a career record of 214-124 and just won a World Series ring with San Francisco. Mulder, 37, came out of retirement last winter to sign a contract with the Los Angeles Angels. But his attempt to pitch in 2014 ended abruptly when he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon early in spring training.