SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs right-hander Zack Greinke got in his final tuneup before his Opening Day start by pitching in a back-field game against Minor Leaguers in the Rockies' organization Saturday afternoon.
Greinke threw 92 pitches over 6 1/3 innings, and also made four plate appearances.
One reason Greinke started in a “B” game was so that the team could control his outing, but another was so that the Giants, who the D-backs were playing at Scottsdale Stadium, would not get an extra look at him before the regular season.
“I threw the ball where I wanted for the most part,” Greinke said. “Wasn’t the best quality of stuff, but it was all right. I feel pretty good, not the best I’ll ever be, but it’s definitely better than a lot of times when the season’s started, so it should be all right.”
Greinke will face the Dodgers on Thursday at Dodger Stadium in his fourth career Opening Day start.
“Yeah, it’s nice,” Greinke said of the honor of pitching on Opening Day. “I don’t really care about that stuff. It’s like a sentimental thing, but I like pitching a lot, so it gives me the best chance of making, like, 33 or 34 starts, so I like that part of it.”
Trimming the locks
Greinke has been sporting long hair this spring stretching down to his neck. For Saturday’s game he wrapped it in a little ponytail, but he might look different come Opening Day.
“I might have to cut it,” Greinke said. “It gets in my eyes and it was getting stuck in my jersey, so that’s why I did the ponytail today, but then the helmet fell off today, so I don’t know. Too many things are happening. A lot of issues.”
Once an overpowering pitcher in his youth, Greinke has lost velocity on his fastball as he’s gotten older.
When he broke into the Majors in 2007, his fastball averaged around 95 mph. Last year, the 35-year-old’s heater averaged 90 mph.
“I guess the way I look at it right now is if I throw 88 or 89 and command it, it’s better than 89 or 90 with a little less command,” Greinke said. “I mean, 89 or 90 is still soft, so I’d rather try to command with what I got.”
When asked what his goal was for this year, Greinke did not list any numerical milestones, but instead talked about his attitude.
“My goal this year is the same as last year -- to not complain about anything,” he said. “Just to think positive. There’s just a lot of things when you get to my age that you can complain about -- not throwing as hard, not feeling as good, not running as fast. Trying to think positive and not letting negative thoughts creep in your mind.”
Closer call coming soon: The D-backs have yet to officially name a closer with Archie Bradley and Greg Holland thought to be the main contenders.
D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said the team is getting closer to doing so, but still had a couple of things to work through.
The D-backs will cap off Cactus League play on Sunday against the Brewers. Right-hander Zack Godley takes the mound against Milwaukee’s Freddy Peralta. First pitch is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. PT at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.