If everything goes according to plan that is. Keep your fingers crossed that it will. The Dodger’s 147 million dollar Mark Fidrych look-alike, and former Cy Young award winner is finally healthy and should be able to begin the season on time. Well, almost on time that is. Zack Greinke felt no pain or discomfort after making 43 pitches through four frames in a minor league start last Wednesday. The Dodgers are looking at a Debut of April 5th for the bird-like right hander.
Greinke originally felt the elbow soreness on March 1 while pitching during a bullpen session. He had to miss a start because of the flu on March 6th, and then missed another start on the 11th because of the elbow problems. An MRI showed no structural damage. After receiving a platelet injection, and getting some rest, Greinke’s elbow is now healthy and according to Greinke himself, he should be available to start the season on time. Greinke told the Dodgers that he feels fine.
Now the Dodgers just have to get him enough starts to build up his arm strength. They’re cutting it a bit close, but it looks like Greinke should have just enough time to get his arm in regular season shape. As a result of the injury and having to hold out Greinke for a few starts, the Dodgers are looking at an April 5th debut for Greinke in the Pittsburgh series. So Greinke won’t be pitching in the opening Giant series, but should be starting the first game of the series with the Pirates.
Greinke will start on Monday, and then have one more start on March 30th, before his first scheduled start of the season. From what I have read on Greinke, it seems he heals very fast from injuries. He is not your normal pitcher. Many people thought he would have to start the season on the disabled list just to have enough time to build up his arm strength, but now it looks like that won’t be necessary. The Dodgers won’t need a fifth starter anyways until April 13th, thanks to scheduled off-days. Of course the Dodgers will be monitoring Greinke’s situation over the next ten days.
The Dodgers are thinking about starting either Hyun-jin Ryu, or Chad Billingsley in the second game against the Giants on April 2nd. From what I have heard through the grapevine, they are leaning towards Bills. So the first three starters should be Clayton Kershaw, Chad Bilingsley, Josh Beckett. Then for the Pittsburgh series, Greinke will start the first game, followed by Kershaw in game two. Game three will see Bills make his second start. If Bills is chosen to start the second game of the season on April 2nd, then Ryu will probably not make his first start until April 13, the soonest possible date the Dodgers will require a fifth starter. If Ryu is chosen to start the April 13 game, then he could be available to pitch out of the bullpen during the first week of the season. All of this sounds fine to me, as long as Birdman is healthy and not on the DL to begin the season. The pitching order may not be ideal, but it is better than having our second best starter on the DL the first month.
Greinke only allowed two hits and one hit batter in the 43 pitch four frame outing last Wednesday. Greinke’s pitch count limit should be between 60 and 75 for his next two starts. We had a bit of a scare, but it appears that Birdman will be making his Dodger Debut in the April 5th game. Here’s to a healthy and happy Birdman letting his fastballs fly in 2013 for the Boys in Blue.