If Barry Zito somehow has a better 2013 debut than he did in 2012, a four-hit shutout at Coors Field, he might need to be tested for pixie dust.

"No-hitter?" a writer asked.

Zito burst out laughing, which had to be easier to do over an offseason that followed one of baseball's best rebounds.

"I think generally I was probably in a better mood most of the time," the 34-year-old left-hander said. "When my mind crossed over into the baseball side and I thought about those things, I think I had a better mood about it."

So did the fans. During Zito's first five years as a Giant, the only numbers that popped into people's heads were seven and $126 million, the length and value of his contract.

After his sixth year, fans were able to chew on 15 wins and one season-saving performance at St. Louis in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.

Zito held the Cardinals scoreless for 7 2/3 innings. The Giants won 5-0 to send the series back to San Francisco, where three nights later they won the pennant in a rain-soaked euphoria on the way to their second World Series title in three seasons.

The Cardinals will get another crack at Zito right away. The tentative rotation that manager Bruce Bochy unveiled Friday has him pitching the home opener against St. Louis on April 5.