Daily Distractions: Why Zack Greinke probably won’t dive tonight.

Zack Greinke

Maybe the only way Zack Greinke hits the turf is if he’s pulled down. (Associated Press photo)

Zack Greinke can recall diving exactly once on a baseball field. All he remembered Tuesday was that it was on a bunt attempt by Gerald Laird, maybe in 2009, and it didn’t end well for him or the Kansas City Royals.

After some digging, we believe the play occurred in the second inning of a game between the Royals and Detroit Tigers on July 8, 2009. Josh Anderson was on second base, having hit a ground-rule double. Laird attempted to bunt Anderson to third base but popped the ball up toward the pitcher’s mound.

Greinke dove for the ball and missed. He tried throwing to first base to retire Laird, but Laird wound up with a single. Since there’s no video on YouTube or MLB.com, we’ll rely on this descriptive quote from Greinke, courtesy of that night’s Associated Press game story: “That was a stupid play, because it was a terrible bunt. If I catch that, it is a double play, and even then, I made a five-hop throw to first.”

On Tuesday, Greinke said that he could have caught the ball, and turned the double play, if he didn’t dive.

“I feel at least 90 percent of all dives are unneeded,” he added.

Why is all this relevant? Well, Greinke is under strict orders not to dive tonight when he returns from a fractured clavicle to start against the Washington Nationals. The pitcher assured Dodgers manager Don Mattingly that this wouldn’t be a problem, and the play from four years ago is a large reason why.

Also, it was satisfying to uncover the dive Greinke was referring to, like the guy who figured out what day Ice Cube was rapping about in the song “It Was a Good Day.”

Some Hump Day bullet points:
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Daily Distractions: Is Josh Beckett headed to the disabled list?

Josh Beckett

Josh Beckett is 0-5, and the Dodgers are 1-7 in games that he starts. Maybe it’s a good time for the DL. (Associated Press photo)


Josh Beckett really didn’t want to talk about his injuries after yesterday’s game.

We know that he tweaked his groin covering first base on an Adam LaRoche ground ball in the third inning. We know that he’s dealing with other injuries. We don’t know what part of his body they’re affecting, how serious they are, or when he started feeling them — we just know that Beckett isn’t right.

But we knew that already.

“I’m in one of those ruts where if they hit the ball soft it’s a hit, if they hit the ball hard, it’s a hit,” Beckett said after the Dodgers’ 6-2 loss to the Washington Nationals.

Will he need to go on the disabled list?

“I’m healthy enough to pitch,” he said.

That might not stop the Dodgers from putting Beckett on the DL as a “precaution.” Sometimes that’s baseball code for, “even though you can pitch, we’d rather you not,” and being 0-5 with a 5.19 earned-run average constitutes just cause.

More injury-related bullet points:
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Matt Kemp crashed into the same part of Dodger Stadium wall that injured Bryce Harper.

Bryce Harper injury

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper is walked off the field by Nationals head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz during the fifth inning of Monday’s game against the Dodgers. Harper received 11 stitches in his neck after crashing into the right-field wall in pursuit of a triple by Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis. (Andy Holzman/Staff photographer)

Matt Kemp has been where Bryce Harper was on Monday.

On April 9, 2007, the Dodgers played their first home game of the season and debuted the color scoreboard that’s embedded in the right-field wall — the same one that Harper crashed into nearly at full speed Monday.

Kemp, who was playing right field that day, acquainted himself by crashing shoulder-first into the scoreboard in pursuit of a fly ball by the Colorado Rockies’ Jeff Baker in the fourth inning. Kemp missed the ball and Baker, like A.J. Ellis on Monday, wound up on third base with a triple.

The scoreboard wasn’t padded that day, and no padding has been added since.

“It’s tough,” Kemp said. “I separated my shoulder doing that.”

Kemp didn’t return for two months after his injury.

Harper was examined and received 11 stitches in his neck. He did not suffer a concussion, as was originally feared, but was reportedly taken to a hospital.

“It looked bad,” Kemp said of Harper’s crash. “I was just praying that he was OK. Hopefully he doesn’t miss any time.”

(Click here for a photo gallery from tonight’s game)

Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper collides with Dodger Stadium wall, leaves game.

Watch video of Harper’s collision here.

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper left Monday’s game against the Dodgers in the fifth inning after hitting an unppaded portion of the right-field wall face-first.

Harper took a semi-circular route in pursuit of a fly ball hit by A.J. Ellis, and didn’t realize he was out of room until he smacked face-first into the scoreboard embedded in the right-field wall. Harper’s hat flew backward as he fell backward, and he remained still on the warning track for some time before Nationals trainers reached him from the first-base dugout.

Harper walked of the field on his own power. Ellis reached third base on the hit, which was ruled a triple.