Time short for Greinke to be ready for season
Veteran dealing with inflamed right elbow, must be stretched out to make April 2 start
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke and his cranky elbow resumed playing catch Friday and it appeared to go well, only hours after manager Don Mattingly indicated the window is quickly closing for Greinke to be ready for his first scheduled regular-season start April 2.
Greinke made 63 throws to Stan Conte, vice president of medical services, beginning at 60 feet. Midway through Greinke extended the distance to 90 feet and appeared to increase velocity as the session progressed. It was Greinke's first attempt to throw since Monday, when he received a platelet-rich plasma injection for inflammation in the back of his right elbow. He is expected to be limited to playing catch for several days before he can advance to a mound for a bullpen session.
"It was pretty good," Greinke said, adding that he hoped to increase the number of throws Saturday. "I don't think anyone was anticipating it not going good. As expected."
Greinke said he didn't know when he would be back on a mound.
Mattingly said Greinke would likely get only two more Spring Training starts. The right-hander has pitched only five innings in two spring starts so far, and Mattingly said Greinke would need to be extended as much as any of his starters before Greinke could start in a regular-season game.
The Dodgers have eight starters and won't need a fifth starter until April 15, but Mattingly wouldn't say whether Greinke would begin the season on the disabled list.
"Hypothetically, just doing the math, as soon as Zack is ready to go out, we'll get him back in there," said Mattingly.
Mattingly sounded only lukewarm to a suggestion that he could piggyback another starter with Greinke, as is done during Spring Training, even though that would partially address the surplus of starting pitchers.
"Four innings is not any good," Mattingly said. "He has to be at the same level as [Clayton Kershaw] or anybody else. He needs to be built up and ready to compete. I don't want him behind the eight ball, trying to catch up. It's like Carl [Crawford]. [Greinke] needs to be ready to go or it wouldn't be fair to him."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.