Zack Greinke, the blue bird took his first steps toward flapping his wings and flying into the regular season on time. Birdman Zack Greinke made his first start in an actual spring game for the Dodgers since his elbow injury flared up back on March 1. The Dodgers are tentatively planning on starting him on April 5th against the Pirates at Dodger Stadium.
Greinke pitched three innings plus tonight against the Royals at Surprise Stadium, and was removed with the bases loaded and none out in the bottom of the fourth. Greinke served up five runs on six hits, while walking three and whiffing two. Greinke made 64 pitches before being pulled. The Dodgers had a pitch count limit of 70 set for Birdman.
He gave up two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Alex Gordon, and Alcides Escobar led off the game with consecutive hits. Salvadaor perez’s two-run double plated Gordon and Escobar to give KC a 2-0 lead. Greinke would settle down after that. He would only allow three more hits the rest of the way. A lot of people will say he looked bad, but I disagree. Remember you have to take spring training game results with a grain of salt. It’s not the results that matter, it’s making sure they get their work in, and how they look doing it. With Greinke, what’s important is that he builds his arm strength. He doesn’t have much more time to do that. Greinke looked ok to me. He was missing with some of his pitches, but that can be expected, considering how rusty he is. He has barely pitched at all this spring. It’s going to take some time for him to get his rhythm back, and rebuild arm strength. I’m not worried yet.
Greinke began the bottom of the fourth inning with a walkapalooza before being removed by manager Don Mattingly. Even though he walked three in a row in the fourth, he still looked fine. The umpire was squeezing him the entire game. Greinke gave up consecutive walks to Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, and Jeff Francoeur to load the bases, before he was lifted. Mattingly brought in Mat Guerrier, and well that’s when the game got away, not surprisingly. Guerrier got the ball, and yada yada, yada, five hits and several runs later, the Dodgers are losing 6-1. Greinke is not scheduled to pitch again until the second game of the freeway series Saturday night against the Angels in Anaheim.
I think Greinke should be just fine. He may not have time to work out all of the kinks, but I think he will be ok. He’ll adjust, and from what I have read he is one of the best at making adjustments on the fly. (no pun intended again) The Dodgers still have the option to start Greinke on the disabled list if they choose to, but I don’t think that is going to happen. Greinke and his elbow are healthy. He just needs to get some work in. He only has one more start to get prepared. He’s just going to have to do this on the fly, no pun intended. (Get it?? Birds fly!)
The Royals are currently leading the Dodgers 7-2 in the top of the sixth inning at Surprise Stadium. Greinke’s opposing starter right hander Wade Davis pitched five frames, and looked a lot stronger. Davis allowed just two runs, (one earned) and four hits while walking three, and whiffing one. Remember though, Davis has had a full spring to bolster his game.