Birdman Zack Greinke, played catch again for the second consecutive day on Saturday. According to the Dodgers, everything went well, with Birdman not experiencing any pain. If all goes well, Greinke will pitch a bullpen session tomorrow, and possibly get into a game by sometime next week.
Greinke has been hampered by a sore right elbow, that has been bothering him since March 1st. That was when he first began to experience the reported stiffness in the right elbow. Greinke missed a bullpen session, and was finally scratched from his last start after the discomfort seemed to resurface. The Dodgers decided to get Greinke’s elbow checked out, and ordered him back to Los Angeles to receive an MRI, and run some tests. The Dodgers called this, precautionary measures, and considering how much money the Dodgers are paying him to pitch, you can understand why. There is no reason to take chances with his health. Fortunately all of the tests came back ok. There was no structural damage, or ligament tears. The official diagnosis for Greinke was elbow inflammation, or in other words, a sore elbow.
The Dodgers ordered Greinke to rest his elbow for several days, and then resume playing catch this weekend. The Dodgers are worried about the possibility that Greinke may not be ready to make his first start of the season on April 2nd against the Giants. The latest news of him playing catch without problem is very encouraging. Stan Conte called the session “a good day”.
The Dodgers are hoping to avoid a DL trip for Birdman, but it’s still a possibility. The Dodgers very well could place Greinke on the DL to begin the season, but make it a retroactive DL stint. What that means is they can backdate the DL trip to March 21, which is the first day the Dodgers discovered the injury. That would put Greinke in line to return on April 5th.
The Dodgers are worried that even if Greinke is healthy, that he may not have enough time to prepare for the start of the season. With opening day just two weeks away, Greinke would only have time for two or three starts. Greinke has only pitched in five frames this spring, and has only made two starts.
The Dodgers will have Greinke pitch a bullpen session tomorrow, and see how he feels. It is possible he could be pitching in a game by Wednesday at the earliest. That would be the best case for the Dodgers. The Dodgers signed Greinke this winter to a record six year, 147 million dollar contract, and of course he will be hurt to begin the season. The Dodgers will see how Greinke feels after his session tomorrow, and then go from there.
Let’s not think negatively here. Greinke is pain free, and was able to play catch the last two days. Remember pitchers get sore arms all the time, especially during spring training. We are all worried about Birdman not being able to begin the season on time. We must remember though, that even though it may be annoying having him start the year on the DL, his overall health and longevity are much more important in the long run.
The Dodgers will be holding their collective breaths tomorrow afternoon when Greinke throws that bullpen session. If all goes well, he could be pitching in a live game by next week. For the Dodgers, that is probably the best they could possibly hope for.