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Zack Greinke inching closer to game action

Greinke has been limited to bullpen sessions and simulated games since straining his right calf on Feb. 27, but could pitch in a game this week.

Zack Greinke threw roughly 85 pitches on Saturday.
Zack Greinke threw roughly 85 pitches on Saturday.
David Young | True Blue LA

GLENDALE -- Zack Greinke continues to progress from his strained right calf and could see game action as early as this week. The right-hander will throw another bullpen session on Monday, manager Don Mattingly said on Sunday.

"Assuming everything goes well the next couple of days, we'll make a decision about where he's going to pitch after that," Mattingly said.

Greinke threw 50 pitches in a bullpen session on Saturday, then followed that up with 35 more pitches in a simulated game pitching to Matt Kemp and Scott Schebler. Afterward, Greinke said his calf still wasn't 100% but he was happy with how he was throwing.

After Greinke's bullpen session Monday, he will need to do some work in the field - essentially pitcher's fielding practice (or PFP) - before getting cleared to pitch in a game. It was thought previously Greinke would first pitch in a game on the back fields, but a Cactus League start could be in the cards.

Mattingly wasn't quite ready to commit to that just yet.

"Other stuff has to happen in between there, as far as him getting on the field, doing PFP work. If that would go well, we can make a determination," Mattingly said. "I just don't want to go that far ahead."

Greinke said on Saturday that he could outrun A.J. Ellis but said he wasn't able to beat Dee Gordon ... yet. Mattingly wasn't convinced about the implication that at some point Greinke would be able to outrun Gordon, joking, "After Dee blows up a knee or breaks a leg or something? That is not happening."

It hasn't been announced yet, but Greinke is a lock to stay behind in Arizona when the team heads to Australia, likely pitching in minor league games to get ready for the season. The Dodgers could choose to have him open up the season on the disabled list with a retroactive date as far back as March 19, putting him in line to start as early as the home opener on April 4. But Mattingly said it was too soon to make such plans.

"It's too early for me," Mattingly said. "Right now we're pretty optimistic that everything is going good."