Say this much for Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke: He’s trying to learn from his mistakes.
Mistake one: October 11, 2011. On the eve of the National League Championship Series between Greinke’s Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals, Greinke was asked about Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter.
“They think his presence, his attitude out there sometimes is like a phony attitude,” Greinke told reporters in Milwaukee. “And then he yells at people. He just stares people down and stuff. And most pitchers just don’t do that. And when guys do, I guess some hitters get mad. Some hitters do it to pitchers. But when you do that some people will get mad.
“There’s other pitchers in the league that do it, but, I don’t know,” Greinke said, “a lot of guys on our team don’t like Carpenter.”
So when Greinke was asked to respond to Carlos Quentin‘s comments in the wake of last Thursday’s brawl, he thought back to two years ago.
“I’m not talking about the personal stuff,” he said. “I’ll keep it away from you guys, hopefully. I just don’t think it’s right bringing everything through you all. I made a mistake one time talking about Carpenter and I felt bad about that afterwards. It’s just not anyone else’s business.”
Greinke knows what he said to provoke Quentin after hitting him, but he’s keeping that under wraps. He probably has some thoughts about Quentin’s non-remorse over the brawl, too (Quentin, who was suspended eight games, said he did feel remorse that Greinke fractured his clavicle in the brawl). He declined to share them Wednesday.
The second mistake, Greinke said, was his reaction when Quentin charged the mound and lowered his shoulder.
“You think about how you react (in advance) but when the time comes you’re not really thinking straight. You’re just kind of reacting,” Greinke said. “I never would’ve planned on doing it that way, that’s for sure. I definitely wish I didn’t. Everything I do, my natural reaction is to avoid my right arm. At least I was smart enough to do that, but obviously it wasn’t the best way to do it. Hopefully I won’t do it that way again, but it’s almost like I blacked out, honestly.”
Mistake three: Not telling Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis what to expect in the game from Quentin. Greinke had hit Quentin with pitches twice before, but none since 2009. Still, the pitcher felt there was enough history between the two that he should have tipped off his catcher.
“Without getting too deep into it, I told A.J. after that I should have told him. I knew anyone with the White Sox has labeled me as someone that does stuff,” he said. “I didn’t think it would happen. Looking back at it, I should’ve warned him. I knew he would feel a lot better about it. I didn’t think it would be the case.”
Since the brawl, Ellis has expressed regret that he didn’t step in front of Quentin sooner to intervene.
Greinke had his left arm in a sling Wednesday to protect his surgically repaired left clavicle. Greinke had a rod inserted to stabilize the bone and is expected to miss eight weeks from the time of Saturday’s operation.
“I don’t have to be in (the sling) now,” he said. “I think it’s better to be in it for the most part. So throughout the day I’m not in it; sometimes I am. I think it’s safer to be in it. When I’m around people I put it on, at least.”
Greinke declined to discuss the timetable for his recovery, including benchmarks such as when he’ll throw again or if he could return sooner as long as he doesn’t have to hit.
“I’m just trying to do what I can to get as healthy as quick as possible and be as strong as possible when I come back,” he said. “I don’t know when that will be, but I’ll try to be as quick as I can.”
The pitcher had no complaints about the length of Quentin’s suspension.
“Baseball has their own suspension stuff,” Greinke said. “Not always as extreme as other sports. Some times I feel other sports are too extreme with their fines. I think it’s the most anyone’s ever been suspended. That right there says a lot. Yeah (for charging a mound) so to expect the league to do more than that would be pretty crazy, I would think.”