Greinke had an MRI on the elbow two weeks ago that “didn’t show anything different than when we first signed him,” Mattingly said. He isn’t expected to go on the disabled list.
But with Kershaw able to start tomorrow on regular rest — as well as Dan Haren, who now starts Friday — the Dodgers decided to hold Greinke back as a precaution.
“We’re better off giving him a couple extra days for the long term,” Mattingly said.
Greinke said after his last start Saturday, in which he threw six shutout innings against the Milwaukee Brewers, he felt better physically than he had in at least a month. Delaying his next start wasn’t by choice.
“A little bit, there was resistance on his part,” Mattingly said. “That was really more of a conversation with him and Stan (Conte, the Dodgers’ head athletic trainer) working through that. Once we got through that, he was OK with it.”
Elbow injuries are a natural cause for concern. It’s where ligaments can snap and end seasons. Mattingly said his concern is minimized by the MRI, and by the fact that Greinke dealt with similar pain in his first spring training with the Dodgers. The manager also cited Greinke’s average fastball velocity in Saturday’s game — 93.5 mph, the fastest it’s been in a game this season.
“You’re concerned,” he said, “from the standpoint that he doesn’t feel 100 percent.”
Greinke is 12-8 with a 2.75 earned-run average this season. He’s faced the Padres once this season, during the first week of April, and allowed two runs in five innings. This will be his first start against the New York Mets since May 22, when he picked up a no-decision after allowing one earned run in five innings.
Kershaw hasn’t had many truly bad starts this year, but his only start against the Padres was one of the best. On July 10 at Dodger Stadium, he allowed three hits and one run in nine innings, striking out 11. That one run — a home run by Chase Headley in the sixth inning — ended his streak of scoreless innings at 41.
Update (5:30 p.m.): Greinke believes he won’t need to go on the disabled list, but admitted that he won’t be pitching at 100 percent physically the rest of the season. The regular season ends in less than six weeks.
“More than likely if something happens it shouldn’t be anything serious,” he said. “It shouldn’t be something where I’m missing a significant amount of time.”