Zack Greinke begins long road back

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Greinke could conceivably start three minor league games in Arizona in preparation for the regular season.

GLENDALE -- Zack Greinke made his first real start of spring training on Wednesday, pitching two innings in the Dodgers' 9-2 loss to the Diamondbacks at Camelback Ranch. But he still remains a long way from ready to begin the season.

"My two main goals are getting healthy and getting ready," Greinke said. "Right now, I'm neither of those."

Greinke allowed three runs on six hits in his two innings with a pair of strikeouts in his first appearance since straining his right calf on Feb. 27, also against Arizona.

Greinke only lasted four pitches in that start. On Wednesday, he said his calf felt a little better in the second inning but he was disappointed with his location and arm speed during that frame. In the second inning, the Diamondbacks scored three runs on four hits against him. Greinke said he left some pitches up.

"It happens sometimes during the season. It's really frustrating, it happens when I'm tired. I can't help it," Greinke noted. "It's just my arm not being in shape I guess."

The way Greinke described his calf strain made it sound more bothersome than painful. But that it has dragged on for two weeks has been frustrating.

"I thought it was fine that day [Feb. 27], and that it would be 100% within a day or two. It hasn't really gotten better," Greinke said. "You know it's there, and if I did something more than its ready to do I'd be right back to where I started. Maybe I can do some things but I have to gradually build up to that. I don't know if I could run full speed. I might be able to, but it's not worth the risk."

Greinke guessed his next start would be in a minor league game some time next week, after the team leaves for Australia. Ideally, he said he'd be ready for the Dodgers' series in San Diego, which runs from March 30 to April 2. If the Dodgers were to place Greinke on the disabled list, they can backdate it as early as March 19 (assuming he continues to pitch in minor league games after that), but the earliest he would be eligible to pitch for them would be the home opener on April 4.

"I can't really have any more setbacks," Greinke said. "I just have to get as ready as I can without pushing it too fast."

Up next

The Dodgers host the Reds on Thursday afternoon at Camelback Ranch, with Paul Maholm getting the start for Los Angeles. Alfredo Simon gets the call for Cincinnati.

Wednesday particulars

Home run: Andy Marte (1)

WP - Michael Lee (1-0): 3 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

LP - Zack Greinke (0-1): 2 IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 2 strikeouts

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