The Dodgers will activate Zack Greinke from the disabled list, and the right-hander will start tomorrow’s game against the Washington Nationals less than five weeks after he had a metal plate inserted in his fractured left clavicle.
Greinke made only one rehab start last Friday and threw 80 pitches for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga. The outing didn’t go well on paper — he allowed six hits, three earned runs and lasted just 4 1/3 innings — but Greinke said he’s comfortable pitching a major-league game three weeks ahead of the original timetable. The team’s medical staff concurred.
“There is some risk,” Greinke said. “There’s risk starting [Clayton] Kershaw today. I’m sure on our team there’s a lot of risk every day. I think it’s well worth the risk we’re taking for my situation.
“If our medical people thought I shouldn’t be pitching, I’d be OK with it. If I had a problem with how I’m pitching I’d be in the minor leagues.”
Greinke fractured his clavicle in a brawl April 11 in San Diego and had surgery two days later. He was originally expected to miss eight weeks. Greinke runs some risk of re-injury by swinging the bat hard, bumping into another player on the run, or by diving and landing on his left side.
“Medical’s pretty confident that he’d be able to handle some type of blow — maybe not the same type of blow — but he could get bumped and handle it,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Greinke’s arm strength is not an issue. He threw a regular bullpen session Sunday, two days after his rehab start, and Mattingly said he would be comfortable letting Greinke throw between 90 and 100 pitches if he’s pitching well.
But Greinke only began swinging the bat in earnest this week, and he has some vaguely defined restrictions at the plate.
“I might not be able to swing as hard as Carlos Gomez swings,” he said, referring to the Milwaukee Brewers’ center fielder. “I could try to hit a home run. It’s probably not worth doing but I can do it.”
X-rays on Greinke’s clavicle showed “healing,” Mattingly said, and Greinke reports that he’s feeling less soreness in the area of the injury after daily workouts.
“It’s nothing superhero-ish,” Greinke said. “If you felt what I feel, you’d do the same thing.”
Greinke was chosen to start the game over right-hander Matt Magill, who has a 6.92 earned-run average in three major-league starts. Magill is a candidate to be optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque to make room for Greinke.
The Dodgers might also place Josh Beckett on the disabled list. Beckett was still sore one day after “tweaking” his groin covering first base in the third inning Monday.