Zinter was a 1st round draft choice (24th overall) by the New York Mets in 1989 as a catcher, but eventually moved to first base. He played in the minors for fourteen years, including one season in Japan for the Seibu Lions in 1999, before finally getting a call-up with the Houston Astros in 2002. His first hit was a home run off Scott Williamson and he batted .136 (6 for 44). In 2004, he earned another call-up with the Arizona Diamondbacks, doing slightly better hitting .206 (7 for 34).
In 2008, Zinter began his coaching career with the Rookie level Missoula Osprey in the Diamondbacks organization. On December 2, 2008, Zinter was announced as the hitting coach for the High-A Visalia Rawhide. After two seasons with Visalia, he was moved up to Double-A to be the hitting coach of the Mobile BayBears. He was hired by the Indians to be their minor league hitting coordinator for the 2012 season.