Your opinion on Zack Greinke‘s return to the Cactus League tonight depends on a whole lot on what you were expecting. If you were hoping for a dominant outing from the team’s second ace, then you were sorely disappointed. Greinke was never really able to get in a groove in 64 pitches over 3+ innings, allowing six hits in the first three frames and then walking the first three hitters of the fourth inning before getting yanked. (Matt Guerrier immediately allowed all three runners to score on two hits and a Juan Uribe error, plus allowing a fourth run in as well, so at least he’s clearly in regular season form. I won’t be shocked at all if he doesn’t make the roster, though that’ll just leave us all with Kevin Gregg.)
However, if you remembered that Greinke is weeks behind every other pitcher in preparations – this was just his third start in a regular game and his first in over three weeks — and that no one cared or remembers what kind of results Clayton Kershaw was getting on March 2, then this was a relatively successful outing, all things considered. Greinke dialed his fastball up to 94 repeatedly, which is great; more than anything, he just looked rusty, and maybe a little winded as the game went on.
If you’re dying to point out that this doesn’t exactly give us all a lot of confidence about Greinke being ready to get outs against Andrew McCutchen and friends in 11 days, well, you’re not wrong. As you might expect, Greinke wasn’t thrilled with his performance either.But that’s a concern for another day; until we hear otherwise, Greinke made it through his first start back with no elbow concern and good velocity. That’s all I was hoping for out of tonight, so I’ll take it.