Zack Greinke threw four scoreless innings on Wednesday in a minor league game against White Sox farmhands at Camelback Ranch, his first game action since Mar. 1.
Greinke was scratched from a start on Mar. 6 due to illness, then missed a start on Mar. 11 with elbow discomfort. After an MRI showed no structural damage to his elbow, he was diagnosed in Los Angeles by team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache with elbow inflammation. Greinke returned to playing catch Friday and Saturday, then threw a bullpen session without pain on Sunday.
On Wednesday, it sounded like more of the same for Greinke, who threw 43 pitches, and allowed two hits and had one hit-by-pitch.
"Elbow wasn't an issue today. I wasn't worried about it. My arm felt really good and strong but the pitches aren't 100% crisp yet." -Greinke— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 20, 2013
Greinke's next outing will be on Monday, likely followed by another start on Mar. 30. If the Dodgers want to back date a disabled list stint, something they could do up to 10 days before the season, Greinke can't pitch in a major league spring training game, so he would have to make those starts on the minor league side.
So, the location of Monday's start will tell us a lot about the Dodgers' plans for Greinke. He sounded confident he would be ready for the regular season.
Zack Greinke was encouraged by his start today, thinks he can get properly built up by the beginning of the regular season.— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) March 20, 2013
If Greinke continues on the path of the other starters, his pitch limits for his next two starts will be 60 and then 75 pitches. Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, Hyun-jin Ryu, and (on Saturday) Chad Billingsley will have all reached 90 pitches in a start.
The Dodgers don't technically need a fifth starter until Apr. 13, their 11th game of the season, so it will be interesting to see how they plan Greinke's next few outings.