Zack Greinke returns to Los Angeles for birth of child; Dodgers’ weekend rotation ‘up in the air.’

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke has an active streak of 43 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff photographer)

NEW YORK — Zack Greinke‘s wife is about to give birth to the couple’s first child, and now the Dodgers don’t have a pitcher to start Friday’s game against the Mets as a result.

They already didn’t have a starter for Saturday and Sunday’s games here, either.

“I think we’ll be able to get someone in here to replace Zack,” manager Don Mattingly said Thursday. “It’s up in the air at this point.”

Here’s the best-case scenario: Greinke’s wife Emily delivers the baby in Los Angeles without complications and Greinke is able to fly back to the team Saturday. (Mattingly all but ruled out the possibility that Greinke could fly back in time to make his scheduled start Friday.)

Brett Anderson, who played catch and did light workouts at Citi Field earlier today, is scheduled to throw a bullpen here tomorrow. If that goes well, he’ll make his scheduled start Sunday — five days after leaving in the third inning of his start against the Washington Nationals with inflammation around his left Achilles’ tendon.

If Greinke can start Saturday and Anderson on Sunday, the Dodgers only need to find a starter for Friday’s game with Greinke on paternity leave and not taking up a roster spot.

That’s a big if.

“Maybe (Greinke) will get back for Saturday, maybe he’ll get back for Sunday,” Mattingly said. “He may not get back for either one.”

Anderson, whose injury history is well-documented, isn’t a shoo-in to get through his bullpen session tomorrow either. Mattingly said there’s no chance Anderson would start a game before Sunday.

So, the worst-case scenario is this: The Dodgers don’t have a starter for any of the next three days. That possibility is still in play too.

Eric Stults, Zach Lee and Joe Wieland are scheduled to start each of the next three days for Triple-A Oklahoma City. Stults and Wieland have started plenty of games at the major league level. Lee hasn’t pitched above Triple-A in his career, though he did get a whiff of the Dodgers’ clubhouse for a day last weekend when MLB permitted teams to add a 26th player in D.C.

The Dodgers already have Ian Thomas in the clubhouse as a long reliever. Thomas has made two relief appearances for the Dodgers this season and started five games at Triple-A. Mattingly said that Thomas is a possibility to start Friday’s game.

Either way, a pitcher is on his way soon. Maybe it’s one, maybe it’s three. Maybe it’s someone from Triple-A, maybe it’s someone the Dodgers have already been talking to other teams about acquiring before the trade deadline eight days from now. Maybe a new pitcher starts tomorrow, maybe he pitches in relief of Thomas.

There are a lot of maybes.

Tonight, Clayton Kershaw starts having thrown 20 consecutive scoreless innings of his own. The Mets are averaging 3.46 runs per game –28th in the majors — so this should be the most straightforward game of the series for the Dodgers’ pitching plans.

If not, the next four days in Flushing Meadows will be an adventure.

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