Zack Greinke‘s right calf is not at full strength and his arm is in its typical early-spring shape. That is, poor.
His honesty is in midseason form, and the 30-year-old pitcher reserved the most brutal of his honesty Wednesday for simulated games. He doesn’t like them.
“Those are awful,” Greinke said. “It’s not the same. You make a mistake, they miss those. You make a mistake in the game, they hit those harder.”
Greinke made a few mistakes in his second appearance of the Cactus League season and the Arizona Diamondbacks — that is, the nine men wearing Diamondbacks uniforms at Camelback Ranch — made him pay. In a scheduled two-inning start, Greinke allowed six hits, three runs (all earned) and struck out two batters. He threw 39 pitches, 26 for strikes, plus another 14 pitches in the bullpen after he was pulled from the game.
Even some of those pitches were put in play by imaginary batters, Greinke said.
Though he didn’t walk a batter, Greinke wasn’t pleased by the fact that so many of his pitches missed high — something he’s seen before from himself early in spring training.
“It happens when I’m tired,” he said. “That’s just my arm not being in shape.”
At least Greinke didn’t blame the gastrocnemius muscle in his right calf, which is the reason Greinke will not be on a plane bound for Sydney, Australia on Sunday. He strained it Feb. 27 in his first Cactus League start.
In the meantime, Greinke has been limited to throwing bullpen sessions and dreaded simulated games. The injury hasn’t fully healed.
“The calf felt better in the in the second inning than the first, and got better as the day went on,” Greinke said. “The last two pitches I tried to throw felt really good.”
To his own surprise, Greinke still isn’t comfortable pushing off the mound at full effort. Nor is he running out ground balls to first base at full speed; if speedy leadoff man Tony Campana hit a ground ball to his left, Greinke decided before the game that he wouldn’t even try to outrun Campana to first base.
Greinke has been ruled out for the first two games of the regular season against the Diamondbacks in Sydney. If the Dodgers choose to place him on the disabled list to begin the season, Greinke won’t be able to play until their home opener, April 4 against the San Francisco Giants.
That’s not his goal. His goal is to pitch sometime in the Dodgers’ first series in North America, March 30-April 2 in San Diego. Greinke admits there’s “still a ways to go.”
“Everybody had to get ready faster for Australia,” he said. “Now I have to get ready faster for the USA season.”