Dodgers’ Zack Greinke throws 45 pitches in bullpen session, reports no pain afterward.

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke throws a warmup pitch Sunday to Dodgers bullpen catcher Fumi Ishibashi. (Bad spring training photo by J.P. Hoornstra)

Zack Greinke threw approximately 38 pitches from a bullpen mound after making seven warm-up tosses today, an important step in his recovery from a stiff right elbow. He threw from the stretch and the windup, mixing in fastballs and all his breaking pitches, and reported no issues.

Greinke said that he “probably threw a little more” pitches than he initially planned. “I felt good. I was working on stuff to get ready for a game.”

However, he didn’t commit to a goal of making his first start of the season on April 2 at home against the San Francisco Giants, as the Dodgers had initially hoped.

“I just want to do what’s best for the team,” he said. “It’s not important what day.”

Greinke received a platelet-rich plasma injection in the elbow Monday and is running out of time if he wants to avoid skipping a start. The Dodgers have the luxury of playing just three games before their first scheduled off-day April 4 and another off-day four days later. So they could rest their $147 million pitcher until the  third week of the season without needing an extra starter.

Dodgers’ Zack Greinke could throw first bullpen tomorrow.

Zack GreinkeZack Greinke‘s first platelet-rich plasma injection worked.

Tomorrow, six days after he received the PRP shot to treat inflammation in the back of his right elbow, Greinke could throw a light bullpen session at Camelback Ranch, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.

“He’s good today,” Mattingly said. “Sounds like he’s encouraged. Stan (Conte, the Dodgers’ vice president of medical services) felt like (Greinke) was encouraged after he threw.”

Greinke began throwing from flat ground Friday and threw again Saturday morning.

“He played (catch) already,” Mattingly said. “He felt good today. He feels good. We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow.”

Initially, the team indicated that Greinke’s first bullpen session would have to wait until next week. If you believe the week begins on Sunday, Greinke is right on time; if you believe it begins on Monday then he’s slightly ahead of schedule.

Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford is improving, could DH tomorrow. Update.

Carl CrawfordDodgers outfielder Carl Crawford will DH in a minor-league game again today. He did the same yesterday and his seven plate appearances “went good,” in Crawford’s words. (Major-league players on rehab assignments are allowed to bat once an inning, in different spots in the order, in minor league games.)

“My timing’s getting better,” Crawford said. “I took a a few good swings. I’m starting to track (the ball) a little bit.”

If he had to hit in a major-league game tomorrow? “I think I’d be OK,” Crawford said.

Update (9:30 a.m.): Crawford may get to find out. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that he may use tomorrow’s home game against the Milwaukee Brewers to get Crawford his first at-bats of the spring. The Dodgers also have a split-squad road game scheduled for 1 p.m. against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

If Crawford doesn’t play tomorrow, he could DH in Monday’s home game against the Diamondbacks. Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson has already disallowed use of the DH in a game once this spring, but use of the DH in spring games is determined by the home manager, regardless of whether the game is in an American or National League park.

“Even though I want the pitchers to hit, Carl takes precedence,” Mattingly said.

For the third straight day, Crawford will test his throwing from approximately 90 feet, the same distance he was throwing from when team trainers temporarily shut down his rehab program two weeks ago.

Crawford underwent Tommy John surgery on his left elbow last August and remains questionable to play Opening Day. He hasn’t appeared in a game since August 19, 2012.

Dodgers president Stan Kasten talks about rebuilding … the 1986 Atlanta Braves.

Stan Kasten

I finally had a chance today to listen to Stan Kasten’s 42-minute, 40-second chat at the SABR Analytics conference last weekend. SABR is the Society for American Baseball Research so, naturally, the interview took a historical bent. The president of the Los Angeles Dodgers talked almost as much about building the 1980s and 1990s Atlanta Braves as he did his current team.

Embedded among Kasten’s words was an important lesson for Dodgers fans (and haters).

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Dodgers utilityman Nick Punto reflects on Team Italy’s run at the World Baseball Classic.

Nick Punto

If you were particularly invested in Italy’s fortune at the World Baseball Classic, you’d think Nick Punto was worthy of a hero’s welcome upon his return to Dodgers camp Friday.

Instead, as he usually does, the Dodgers’ utilityman quietly went back to work at Camelback Ranch.

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What’s next for Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke?

Zack Greinke

One day after Zack Greinke said there’s “zero chance” he would be able to pitch at full strength in the Dodgers’ second game of the season, manager Don Mattingly said he doesn’t want Greinke to make his season debut at less than full strength.

Already, Greinke seems more likely to begin the season on the disabled list than he is to pitch April 2 against the San Francisco Giants.

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Daily Distractions: Dr. Frank Jobe recognized in Cooperstown; Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier help Cleveland.

Thomas Tull

“42″ producer Thomas Tull, right, with Cal Ripken. (baseballhall.org)

The National Baseball Hall of Fame won’t induct any new members this year, but its annual Awards Presentation will have a Dodgers theme.

On July 27 in Cooperstown, the Museum will pay tribute to Legendary Pictures founder and CEO Thomas Tull and his soon-to-be-released film “42”, which documents and pays homage to Brooklyn Dodgers great Jackie Robinson. The film will be released nationwide on Friday, April 12, just in advance of baseball’s Jackie Robinson Day on April 15.

The Museum will also recognize former Dodgers team physician Frank Jobe for the development of Tommy John surgery, a now-common elbow ligament replacement procedure. John, the former Dodgers pitcher who won 288 games in his 26-year major league career, will join Dr. Jobe for the special recognition.

I attended a special screening of “42″ last week and it seemed to be well-received by both the media and the Dodgers players and execs in attendance. I’m guessing it won’t be seen as a flop three months after its release.

Some bullet points for a Friday morning:

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Dodgers at the WBC update: Hanley Ramirez goes yard, Kenley Jansen goes to San Francisco.

Hanley Ramirez delivered the first of three runs for the Dominican Republic in its 3-1 win over the United States on Thursday, a home run in the second inning off R.A. Dickey that traveled 451 feet and was the fourth-longest ball ever hit at Marlins Park.

It was the only run allowed by Dickey in five innings, and Dominican starter Samuel Deduno was just as stifling in his four innings. The game was tied 1-1 in the ninth inning when Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel allowed two runs on back-to-back RBI singles by Erick Aybar and Jose Reyes.

Ramirez served as the DH in the game. Reyes played shortstop.

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