Zack Greinke shines in minor-league game, opening regular season healthy still a possibility.

Zack GreinkeZack Greinke wants to make 34 starts during the regular season.

He might get that chance after all.

Making his first start against live hitters since he was shut down with elbow tightness earlier this month, Greinke threw four shutout innings in a Triple-A game against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch.

The right-hander allowed a single, hit a batter with a pitch, walked none and struck out two. He threw 43 pitches.

“It wasn’t perfect command. You saw me upset with several pitches,” Greinke said. “It was my first outing in two weeks, so I guess that’s kind of expected.”

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Thumb injury will cost Dodgers’ Hanley Ramirez 2 to 10 weeks; Opening Day in jeopardy.

The L.A. Dodgers’ Hanley Ramirez, playing for the Dominican Republic, looks on during a World Baseball Classic second round game against Puerto Rico on March 16, 2013 in Miami. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

The thumb injury Hanley Ramirez sustained in the World Baseball Classic championship game Tuesday night will cost the Dodgers shortstop anywhere from 2 to 10 weeks.

With Opening Day 12 days away, that makes Ramirez doubtful for the Dodgers’ season-opening series against the San Francisco Giants — if not longer.

Ramirez was scheduled to arrive in Phoenix later today to undergo an MRI exam. The Dodgers will learn the full extent of his injury then.

Luis Cruz was scheduled to start at shortstop in the Dodgers’ exhibition game against the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday and could be a longer-term option to replace Ramirez if the team chooses to move him from third base.

Dodgers’ Hanley Ramirez hurt as Dominican Republic beats Puerto Rico for World Baseball Classic title.

Hanley Ramirez and the Dominican Republic beat Puerto Rico 3-0 on Tuesday to claim their first World Baseball Classic title. It was a bittersweet day for the Dodgers, who could only watch as Ramirez jammed his thumb diving for a ground ball in the third inning:

Ramirez, who was playing third base, stayed in the game but later came out and was fitted with a splint. The Dodgers reportedly won’t know the extent of the injury until tomorrow.

According to CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler,

Dominican Republic manager Tony Pena and third-base coach Juan Samuel both said they don’t believe that Ramirez is seriously hurt, but the Dodgers likely won’t feel comfortable until Ramirez’s MRI comes back clean and he’s able to take the field again for them.

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Dodgers reassign Jesus Flores; option Shawn Tolleson, Justin Sellers to minors.

The Dodgers shed a third catcher from their camp roster in as many days Tuesday by re-assigning Jesus Flores to the minors. That effectively hands the backup backstop’s job to Tim Federowicz.

Federowicz was the front-runner to be the number-two behind A.J. Ellis, but not a shoo-in when the Dodgers invited four more experienced catchers — Flores, Ramon Castro, Wilkin Castillo and Eliezer Alfonzo — as non-roster invitees. Alfonzo never reported to camp. Castro and Flores never hit. Castillo did (.333/.333/.389) but it wasn’t enough to unseat Federowicz, a 24-year-old who has never been on an Opening Day roster.

The bullpen picture became more clear when Shawn Tolleson was optioned to the Dodgers’ minor-league camp. The 25-year-old right-hander only allowed one run in seven appearances, but the team appears intent on giving a bullpen job to a more experienced righty such as Peter Moylan, Mark Lowe or Kevin Gregg, or rookie Josh Wall. The 34-year-old Gregg, who’s allowed two hits and no runs in six appearances, looks like the front-runner among that group. Left-hander Paco Rodriguez also remains in camp.

Justin Sellers was the third camp casualty Tuesday. The infielder was optioned to the minor-league camp after batting .150/.150/.190, with 3 hits and no walks in 21 plate appearances.

The major-league camp roster is down to 40 players.

Hanley Ramirez leads Dominican Republic into WBC final; Kenley Jansen, Netherlands out.

Hanley Ramirez said before the World Baseball Classic that he would play each game as if it was his last. Turns out he really didn’t want the WBC to end.

The Dodgers shortstop, serving as the designated hitter for his native Dominican Republic, went 1 for 3 in a 4-1 win over the Netherlands in a WBC semifinal game at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Monday.

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Dodgers rotation scramble: Josh Beckett scratched, Chad Billingsley bruised, Zack Greinke improving.

Josh Beckett

Josh Beckett was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday with the flu. Several Dodgers have been afflicted with the bug (Ted Lilly, Zack Greinke, Peter Moylan, Ramon Castro, Adrian Gonzalez) and Beckett’s doesn’t seem to be too bad. He was scheduled to throw on a back field Monday morning.

(Update: Beckett indeed threw a simulated game on the back field and reportedly passed the test with flying colors.)

In his place, Josh Wall will start against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers will likely use a combination of relievers, including some minor-leaguers, to fill out the innings behind Wall, who hasn’t pitched more than 1 ⅔ innings in a Cactus League game this spring.

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Tony Gwynn Jr. among Dodgers’ cuts.

Tony  Gwynn Jr.Tony Gwynn Jr. accepted an assignment to the Dodgers’ minor-league camp, catcher Ramon Castro was released and catcher Wilkin Castillo was re-assigned to the minor-league side Monday. The Dodgers have 43 players in camp.

Gwynn’s standing on the Dodgers’ depth chart has only fallen since he was designated for assignment and sent to Triple-A Albuquerque late last season. The Dodgers acquired Skip Schumaker for outfield depth over the winter and have seen Yasiel Puig emerge as an option at the major-league level, if not by Opening Day then maybe sometime this year. Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford have made steady progress in their recovery from shoulder and elbow surgery, respectively. Both could be ready for Opening Day, certainly Kemp and maybe Crawford.

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Carl Crawford returns as Dodgers’ DH, leadoff hitter.

CarlxCrawfordIn case you missed it, I wrote about Carl Crawford‘s return to the Dodgers yesterday. It was an emotional one. He’ll be back in the lineup today against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Camelback Ranch, leading off as the designated hitter. He’s expected to do the same tomorrow against the A’s. Crawford said Monday morning that he’s still pain-free in his surgically repaired left elbow.

As sometimes happens, there wasn’t room in the paper for everything I wrote. Here’s what you missed:

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Dodgers sign four to minor-league deals.

The Dodgers have signed four players to minor-league deals: Curacao native Dashenko Ricardo, who is playing for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, and three amateurs from the Dominican Republic.

Ricardo might be catching Dodgers pitcher Kenley Jansen, and playing against Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, when the Netherlands plays the Dominican Republic tomorrow night in a WBC semifinal game in San Francisco.

Ricardo is hitting just .211 in the tournament, 4 for 19 with a pair of RBIs. For what it’s worth, Kenley Jansen was hitting .077 as the Netherlands’ catcher in the 2009 tournament. The Dodgers turned him into a pitcher and Jansen became the team’s closer three years later.