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: Picking a new WBC favorite; Cactus League attendance down; Mike Piazza ads.

WBC logoI started toying with this mental exercise last night: What if the state of California had a team in the World Baseball Classic?

Forget about how many players would decline invitations. Forget about generational eligibility — if you were born in California, you’re eligible (which is fine, since I had a better chance of making Team Wisconsin anyways). What would that team look like? Could it contend?

The answer is yes.

C: John Jaso, Mariners/Rod Barajas, Diamondbacks
1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers
2B: Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks
SS: Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
3B: Ty Wigginton, Cardinals
LF: Ryan Braun, Brewers
CF: Coco Crisp, A’s
RF: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
DH: Prince Fielder, Tigers
UT: Skip Schumaker, Dodgers

SP: Jered Weaver, Angels
SP: CC Sabathia, Yankees
SP: James Shields, Royals
SP: Cole Hamels, Phillies
SP: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
RP: Sergio Romo, Giants
RP: Brandon League, Dodgers
RP: Addison Reed, White Sox
RP: Dale Thayer, Padres
RP: J.P. Howell, Dodgers
RP: Bryan Shaw, Diamondbacks
RP: Kris Medlen, Braves

Manager: Dusty Baker, Reds
Hitting coach: Mark McGwire, Dodgers
Pitching coach: Chris Bosio, Cubs

Apologies to C.J. Wilson, Mark Trumbo, Michael Young, Will Venable, Brandon McCarthy, Kyle Lohse, Mike Moustakas and Carlos Quentin. Perhaps you can dig into your family tree and find another state to play for.

On to some bullet points:

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Shawn Green’s thoughts on the Hall of Fame, Sandy Koufax, and the Dodgers’ new owners.

Shawn Green

Former Dodgers outfielder Shawn Green was in camp and in uniform as a special instructor this weekend. We got his thoughts on a variety of topics Sunday, including Sandy Koufax, the Hall of Fame, the Dodgers’ new owners, and his playing ambitions.

Green still has playing ambitions — more WBC ambitions than MLB ambitions — but he isn’t pressing the issue. At age 40, he’s content to be a father to his 7- and 10-year-old daughters. I’m saving that story for tomorrow’s editions.

Here’s what else Green had to say:

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Mike Piazza on Vin Scully: ‘He’s a good man and I love him.’

MikexPiazza book

On a back field, far from the Dodgers and Vin Scully (who was in Glendale to broadcast his first game of spring training), Mike Piazza and Team Italy were preparing for the World Baseball Classic at Camelback Ranch.

Piazza took a break from his duties as hitting coach to tell reporters that he had no regrets over what he wrote about Scully in his book “Longshot.” The former Dodgers catcher took plenty of heat for insinuating that Scully fueled the perception that, by setting a deadline to sign a contract extension in 1998, Piazza was being disloyal to the team.

On Monday, he responded:

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Daily Distractions: Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu throws, Justin Sellers speaks, Mike Piazza writes.

Hyun-Jin Ryu is throwing and the photographers writers are on the scene with their digital SLRs cell phones:

 

Some of the Dodgers’ position players are in camp one day early. That includes Justin Sellers, who this morning told reporters at Camelback Ranch that his recent arrest in West Sacramento was “a misunderstanding.” Sellers said he does not need to be present at his scheduled court date in March.

All the pitchers are in tow, including injured reliever Scott Elbert. The left-hander told reporters yesterday that he doesn’t expect to be back until May – not unexpected, since he had arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow Jan. 23 and Sept. 19, 2012. One catcher still hasn’t reported – non-roster invitee Eliezer Alfonso has been delayed by a family issue.

Some links for a Thursday morning:

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