Zack Greinke Returning Way/files/includes/,.css Way Ahead of Schedule?

greinke_dodger_debutZack Greinke will make his first rehab start since breaking his left collarbone tonight for Rancho Cucamonga in Lake Elsinore. (As you’ve probably heard/files/includes/,.css Scott Elbert will make his debut in that game as well/files/includes/,.css recovering from two elbow surgeries.)

That’s just under four weeks since he had surgery/files/includes/,.css and we’re already hearing rumblings that if tonight goes well/files/includes/,.css he may only need one rehab start and could be in line to start on Wednesday against the Nationals. That puts him on the same timeline as Matt Magill/files/includes/,.css which could make tonight’s Magill start against Miami the last we see of him for a while — and as much as I like Magill/files/includes/,.css that would be a very good thing.

Considering that the original diagnosis for Greinke was around eight weeks/files/includes/,.css or mid-to-late June/files/includes/,.css this would be a phenomenally quick recovery. Is it too soon? I don’t know/files/includes/,.css and neither do you; we aren’t doctors and don’t know the specifics of his health. We’ve heard that he’s already thrown two bullpen sessions of 60 pitches where he’s reached 90 MPH/files/includes/,.css and that all sounds great.

My hope/files/includes/,.css however/files/includes/,.css is that he’s nearly ready to come back because he’s nearly ready/files/includes/,.css and not because the team has lost seven games in a row. We’ve seen that be attempted and fail far too many times — looking at you/files/includes/,.css Matt Kemp from last year — and it’s the last thing this club needs.

As noted in an story on the subject…

“I feel more than you would with a normal arm/files/includes/,.css but not anything major/files/includes/,.css” said Greinke/files/includes/,.css whose start on Friday would come at Lake Elsinore.

I’m cautiously optimistic/files/includes/,.css and I’m not trying to be the voice of negativity. But I also know that if there’s anything that could go wrong with the 2013 Dodgers/files/includes/,.css it will. Here’s to hoping Greinke is ready because he’s ready/files/includes/,.css and nothing more than that.

Nothing But Bad News From the Brawl That Injured Zack Greinke

greinke_injured_sandiego_2013-04-12It’s kind of a running joke in the Dodger online community that whenever anything newsworthy or exciting happens/files/includes/,.css Hawaii-based Chad Moriyama will inevitably be asleep during it/files/includes/,.css then wake up six hours later to find out that James McDonald was traded for Octavio Dotel/files/includes/,.css or whatever horror it happened to be.

Last night/files/includes/,.css punished by work/files/includes/,.css I went to bed early in what looked like a routine 2-0 Dodger game. When I woke up/files/includes/,.css it was to an apologetic email from one of my groomsmen and about 30 tweets that looked roughly like this:

And so here I sit on a rainy morning/files/includes/,.css apoplectic that I missed Juan Uribe‘s pinch-hit go-ahead homer/files/includes/,.css giving him the team lead with two. Or the fact that Hanley Ramirez tweeted my GIF of his dugout celebration from the other night. That is all I missed/files/includes/,.css right?

Sadly/files/includes/,.css it’s much more than that/files/includes/,.css and I feel like I don’t need to give anyone the play-by-play of the brawl that ended with Zack Greinke fracturing his left collarbone/files/includes/,.css because I’m sure you’ve all seen it dozens of times by now. Carlos Quentin alluded to past history between he and Greinke/files/includes/,.css but the idea that Greinke is really throwing at a guy on a full count in a one-run game is so insane that it’s barely even worth considering. If anything/files/includes/,.css I might have preferred Greinke not driving his shoulder into the angry 240-pound man running full speed at him/files/includes/,.css but that’s that’s obviously said with the benefit of video replay/files/includes/,.css hardly something you can expect in the heat of the moment. Adding insult to incredibly serious injury/files/includes/,.css Vin Scully had noted earlier in the game that Greinke’s wife and family were in the stands for the game. (By the way/files/includes/,.css suggestions I’m already seeing that A.J. Ellis or Adrian Gonzalez were somehow at fault for not getting there quickly enough to stop Quentin: no. Stop. Just stop.)

Obviously/files/includes/,.css Quentin is public enemy #1 in Los Angeles — and not the good/files/includes/,.css Clayton Kershaw curveball kind — and I know many people are getting a kick out of Matt Kemp barking at him in the tunnel after the game. But as Dodger fans/files/includes/,.css we’re of course incredibly biased. That being the case/files/includes/,.css it’s nice to see that fans of other teams are all piling on Quentin this morning. Not/files/includes/,.css unfortunately/files/includes/,.css in the way that a half-billion dollars of baseball player piled on Grienke/files/includes/,.css however.

Even Padres blog Gaslamp Ball can barely spin this in a San Diego way:

If you think that a single pitcher hitting a single batter three times over the course of their careers is excessive (or you’re a Padres fan)/files/includes/,.css then maybe you’re on Carlos Quentin‘s side.

If you’re the kind of person that figures it’s a 3-2 count in a 2-1 game and maybe it’s not necessarily the opportune time to hit a batter because you don’t like him then you’re probably figuring Zack Greinke is out for a really ridiculous reason and that reason is an angry Carlos Quentin.

So what now? Greinke returned to Los Angeles rather than going on with the team to Arizona/files/includes/,.css where we’ll find out if this is an injury that’s going to be measured in weeks or months. We’ll now get to have the ever-so-fun “Ted Lilly or Chris Capuano?” conversation. And in three days/files/includes/,.css the Padres come to Los Angeles on Jackie Robinson Day/files/includes/,.css potentially with Quentin in the lineup if he appeals the suspension that’s inevitably coming. The official Dodger account/files/includes/,.css anyway/files/includes/,.css is ready/files/includes/,.css even if I’m not sure I am.


Dodgers 3/files/includes/,.css Pirates 0: Smiles All Around

matt_kemp_happySometimes/files/includes/,.css when you want to get healthy & happy/files/includes/,.css all you need is Jonathan Sanchez and the Pittsburgh Pirates to come to town. Sorry/files/includes/,.css Pittsburgh fans. It’s true. The Dodgers have beaten them 17 of 21/files/includes/,.css after all.

Really/files/includes/,.css that could have scarcely gone better. There was Matt Kemp/files/includes/,.css breaking his hitless streak with an RBI double in the sixth/files/includes/,.css generating the reaction you see above. There was Andre Ethier/files/includes/,.css putting the first run on the board not only with a homer/files/includes/,.css but with a homer off a lefty. There was Justin Sellers/files/includes/,.css redeeming himself from the other night with an outstanding defensive play. There was the bullpen/files/includes/,.css contributing 2.1 hitless innings of relief from Paco Rodriguez/files/includes/,.css Kenley Jansen/files/includes/,.css & Brandon League. There was A.J. Ellis‘ third double of the year (in addition to him gunning down Andrew McCutchen attempting to steal)/files/includes/,.css and Adrian Gonzalez‘ first/files/includes/,.css a seventh-inning drive that pushed Kemp across with the third run of the game.

But most of all/files/includes/,.css there was Zack Greinke/files/includes/,.css throwing six and a third perfect innings in his Dodger debut before allowing a hit to McCutchen. Lest you be eager to point out a potential mistake and note that Garrett Jones actually had a single in the second inning/files/includes/,.css let me remind you how that play actually went down…

…and so I stand by my statement. Greinke went 92 pitches/files/includes/,.css striking out six/files/includes/,.css in what was known to be an outing where he’d have a bit of a leash on him after his abbreviated spring. Looking at it through that lens/files/includes/,.css perhaps the Mark Ellis play above was something of a blessing/files/includes/,.css since it removed any possible pressure on Don Mattingly to keep him in longer than necessary.

Oh/files/includes/,.css and it gets better/files/includes/,.css friends: after dealing with Greinke tonight/files/includes/,.css the Pirates have to face Clayton Kershaw tomorrow evening. In 15.2 innings this year/files/includes/,.css the ace duo has allowed just six hits/files/includes/,.css zero walks/files/includes/,.css and zero runs. That just isn’t right… but it sure is fun.


News from down on the farm tonight: Yasiel Puig/files/includes/,.css playing right field/files/includes/,.css made his debut for Double-A Chattanooga a successful one/files/includes/,.css going 2-3 with a run/files/includes/,.css a stolen base/files/includes/,.css and — wait for it — a walk! Zach Lee struck out five in four innings/files/includes/,.css allowing one earned run.

Ted Lilly made a “rehab” start for High-A Rancho Cucamonga/files/includes/,.css and… oh.


Zack Greinke Makes the Final Game of Spring Actually Meaningful

angelstadiumThe final game of an endlessly long spring training usually doesn’t mean a whole lot more than just “please/files/includes/,.css no one get hurt/files/includes/,.css” and for the most part/files/includes/,.css tonight’s Freeway Series finale falls under that category. But for Zack Greinke and the Dodgers/files/includes/,.css there’s at least a little intrigue to it/files/includes/,.css because Greinke needs to prove he’s ready to start the season with the team rather than on the disabled list.

As we discussed last week/files/includes/,.css it didn’t matter so much that he looked terrible against the Royals/files/includes/,.css because it was his first outing after weeks on the shelf. Against another of his former teams/files/includes/,.css it matters a little more/files/includes/,.css because he’s simply out of time. Either Greinke shows he’s ready/files/includes/,.css or the Dodgers have to make a tough decision about whether to start him on the shelf while he gets stretched out. We might see Chris Capuano & Aaron Harang after Greinke tonight/files/includes/,.css and that’ll be fun because they’re the two men who have their fates tied most closely to how Greinke performs. Again though/files/includes/,.css I do expect Greinke to start next Friday against Pittsburgh unless tonight goes really/files/includes/,.css really poorly.


You’ll also notice that Justin Sellers is once again starting at shortstop tonight/files/includes/,.css further evidence that he really is in consideration to take that job to start the season. Talk about one of the more improbable twists of the spring; for a reference point/files/includes/,.css 166 people entered the Brooklyn Dodger hat Opening Day roster contest. Only four had Sellers on their lists/files/includes/,.css fewer people than had Ramon Castro/files/includes/,.css Scott Elbert/files/includes/,.css Yasiel Puig/files/includes/,.css Mark Lowe/files/includes/,.css or Nick Evans.

There’s no Dodger broadcast of tonight’s game/files/includes/,.css but the Angels will have it on Fox Sports. However/files/includes/,.css it’ll be delayed until after the Kings vs. Wild game is over/files/includes/,.css which starts an hour before first pitch; if you want to check it out live/files/includes/,.css it’ll be a free broadcast there. (And for all the jokes about failing miserably last night/files/includes/,.css I believe the problem was more on the end of all the new gadgets in Dodger Stadium than anything.)

It’s possible that the team announces some roster moves after tonight’s game — it’s not like things like sending out Matt Wallach & Stephen Fife aren’t pretty obvious — but my guess is that we don’t get real answers to the questions we posed earlier today until tomorrow. That might just be me hoping that’s the case though/files/includes/,.css since anything fun breaking late on a Saturday night is never cool. (Especially one where I’ll be at a concert at a venue that’s deep enough underground that probably means cell service is unlikely.)

As for Clayton Kershaw/files/includes/,.css I still believe that his deal will get finalized by the end of Sunday so as to not conflict with Opening Day ceremonies/files/includes/,.css though as I said on Twitter earlier/files/includes/,.css I’m starting to believe that my initial estimate of $200 million might actually be about 10% light. Remember back in January when I guesstimated 7/$159m? That wasn’t all that different from the projections of others at the time/files/includes/,.css but it now sounds like we’re all going to be wayyy off.

I’m guessing that the deal will be announced at 12:30pm PT on Sunday/files/includes/,.css and that’s not in any way based on sources or inside info — it’s when I’ll be walking into an Easter dinner with the family/files/includes/,.css because of course that’s when it’ll happen. Either way/files/includes/,.css I do think it will happen before he throws his first pitch on Monday/files/includes/,.css and if it doesn’t/files/includes/,.css it’ll be because it fell through/files/includes/,.css not because of bad info.

Zack Greinke Looked Awful And There’s Nothing Wrong With That

greinke_spring_royalsYour 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/files/includes/,.css then you were sorely disappointed. Greinke was never really able to get in a groove in 64 pitches over 3+ innings/files/includes/,.css 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/files/includes/,.css plus allowing a fourth run in as well/files/includes/,.css so at least he’s clearly in regular season form. I won’t be shocked at all if he doesn’t make the roster/files/includes/,.css though that’ll just leave us all with Kevin Gregg.)

However/files/includes/,.css 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/files/includes/,.css then this was a relatively successful outing/files/includes/,.css all things considered. Greinke dialed his fastball up to 94 repeatedly/files/includes/,.css which is great; more than anything/files/includes/,.css he just looked rusty/files/includes/,.css 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/files/includes/,.css well/files/includes/,.css you’re not wrong. As you might expect/files/includes/,.css Greinke wasn’t thrilled with his performance either.But that’s a concern for another day; until we hear otherwise/files/includes/,.css 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/files/includes/,.css so I’ll take it.