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Greinke gets back to work in 'B' game

D-backs ace hurls four innings in return from groin tightness
March 21, 2018

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Zack Greinke made significant strides toward getting back to his routine Wednesday, pitching four innings and throwing 60 pitches in a "B" game. He gave up an unearned run on two hits and three walks while striking out three."It was all right -- I got some outs,"

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Zack Greinke made significant strides toward getting back to his routine Wednesday, pitching four innings and throwing 60 pitches in a "B" game. He gave up an unearned run on two hits and three walks while striking out three.
"It was all right -- I got some outs," Greinke said, noting the outing was not up to the standard he set for himself the last time he pitched in a game, March 14. "That inning was really good, though, so probably not as good as that. Maybe I just was really good that day and not quite that good today."
Spring Training information
In that previous outing, Greinke pitched one inning before leaving the game with tightness in his right groin. He only threw 19 pitches, and though the injury has not slowed him down since then, getting off track in building his pitch count has derailed him enough to miss the Opening Day start. He topped out at 92 mph on the radar gun last week and peaked at 90 mph in his "B" game.
"I felt like he kind of built into his outing," manager Torey Lovullo said of Greinke's back-field start. "I know the velocity early was something that he was testing and just working into it, and then started to stand on his fastballs. He started to get on his velocity a little bit in his last inning of work. And then he was throwing all pitches. They weren't perfect, we know that. Zack is exceptional with all pitches, so was it a typical Zack outing? No. But we didn't expect it to be coming off a situation where he missed a couple days."
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If all continues to go well, Greinke should pitch Monday against the Indians and then make his season debut in the final game with the Rockies on March 31.
"We'll find out how he feels tomorrow," Lovullo said Wednesday. "That's the next landmark that he needs to hit and stand on. If he comes in tomorrow and he says he feels like all systems are go, we'll start aiming toward one of those games [Monday or Tuesday at Chase Field].
Greinke has taken the setback in stride and has not shown much distress at missing the Opening Day start he was lined up to make.
"I'm just not capable of doing it this year," Greinke said. "I know I'm capable of pitching that [last] day [against the Rockies]."
The D-backs have not announced yet who will start for them on Opening Day. Lovullo has emphasized that he's comfortable with any of his starters -- Robbie Ray, Taijuan Walker, Patrick Corbin or Zack Godley. Though he has mentioned Ray, the No. 2 starter, as a logical choice, Godley, the fifth starter, could make the start with the least impact on the rest of the rotation by simply delaying his final spring start one day and pitching the opener the next day.
"Zack Godley had a tremendous year -- he was the staff savoir," Lovullo said of Godley's rookie season, when he ultimately took Shelby Miller's spot in the rotation after Miller's Tommy John surgery. "He showed so much mental toughness. He could come up and start on a moment's notice. He quickly became one of our best starters. He's matured, he's a Major League pitcher, he's a good teammate in that clubhouse. We like what we see out of Zack."
Lovullo said he hopes to be able to announce an Opening Day starter before the weekend.
"We're not being evasive, we're just being thorough," Lovullo said. "We have a strategy to everything we do. We're going to map this out slowly and carefully and pick the right candidate."
Medical tent
Jeff Mathis has missed a week of Cactus League games with back tightness, but he participated in baseball activities for the first time Wednesday and hopes to get back in a game by Friday.
"I'm getting better," Mathis said. "It's just been precautionary stuff. We're getting close to time, but we've been taking it slow, everything's feeling good and we're going in the right direction."

Both Lovullo and Mathis are certain the catcher can be ready in time for Opening Day.
"I was catching six innings the last three or four times I was playing," Mathis said. "There's some stuff to still work on here in these next six days, but I'm very confident with where I'm at and being ready for Opening Day."
Up next
The D-backs play their second of three straight night games Thursday, hosting the White Sox at 6:40 p.m. MST. Walker will be on the mound, and the likely Opening Day double-play combination of Ketel Marte and Nick Ahmed should play their second Cactus League game together at second and short, respectively.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to and covered the D-backs on Wednesday.